By Kathy Yanchus
When Mitchell Brewer put on skates for the first time as a five-year-old Flamborough Hockey Association junior tyke, he was a natural.
He went on to play AA tyke and novice for Flamborough and at the age of nine, jumped to the AAA Hamilton Junior Bull Dogs’ minor atoms, becoming assistant captain of his team, and this year, captain of the minor peewees.
“It’s just been a rocket climb up,” said Mitchell’s dad Mark, adding that he didn’t want to sound like he was bragging, but his son’s talent has always amazed him. “He has just been one of those kids. If he was playing baseball, he could hit the ball; if he played soccer, he could kick the ball.”
But the best, so far, in young Mitchell’s life was yet to come when the 12-year-old was chosen as a member of the international East Coast Selects, one of 17 minor peewees, who will attend a training development camp in Stockholm, Sweden and the World Selects Invitational tournament in Helsinki, Finland this spring.
Eighty minor peewees from all over Ontario and the eastern United States were invited to tryout last month in Buffalo; in total, 300, 12- to 16-year-old players for three East Select teams vied for 68 spots.
On January 4, the family got the call that not only had Mitchell been selected for the team, but that he was voted the top defenceman at the camp.
“We were just totally blown away,” said Mark. “It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity. He’ll be playing among the best kids in the world. He is so excited.”
Mitchell has already begun to research the two countries he’ll call home from April 25 to May 4, an educational spinoff from the experience, said Mark.
“Mitchell was superb at the tryout,” said Joe Templin, head scout for the Selects hockey program, an elite prospect development program owned by Selects Sports Management Inc. “He not only showed he has the skill to be a top hockey prospect but also demonstrated great leadership and passion on the ice.”
As for Mitchell, he has told his dad he wants to follow in the footsteps of his idols, Ryan Ellis, Mark Visentin and Danny Syvret, all young hockey players from the Flamborough area who have made it to the National Hockey League.
That is Mitchell’s dream, said Mark, “100 per cent.”
To celebrate Mitchell’s selection, the family will host a congratulatory send-off Sunday, Feb. 17 at Mill Street and 5 American House, 324 Dundas St., between 8 p.m. and 1 a.m. The event is open to the community.
There will also be a fundraising dance and silent auction Friday, April 12 between 8 p.m. and 1 a.m. at the Millgrove Community Centre. Everyone is welcome.