Every year in the middle of winter, hundreds of skates clatter across the frozen surface of a Haliburton lake, playing in the Canadian Pond Hockey Championship. Rec players, Women’s teams, and Masters come together to celebrate their love of the game at the most basic level. The competitive division is what you might expect by the time it gets to the final, four on four, battle for the Maple Cup. Intense. Here is fair warning to anyone who plans to contend for that trophy many years from now; The Carrick Brothers out of Stouffville, can play that game.
“We grew up, on my Grandpa’s farm, playing outside. He even had a homemade Zamboni. A bucket of water behind a small tractor kind of thing.” Sam Carrick plays like he wasn’t given a lot of space to make the plays he does. He battles every inch of ice and gives not even a shaving of it over without leaving a signature on the body trying to take it. These are the things you learn when you skate with brothers and cousins and friends on a pond. These are the people in your life that know you best.
Older brothers can sometimes take you places you didn’t know, or didn’t realize were even options. The oldest Carrick, Jake, went off to the Soo in the OHL but the impression he left behind with his younger brothers was lasting.
“I think that gave us a lot of motivation to do what he did and try to do it better.” Carrick is the second of the four boys and was a coveted pick by the Brampton Battalion (15th overall)
Trevor Carrick is humming along as a Carolina draft pick and now Josh is with the Barrie Colts. You might think the level of competition in their basement games (complete with boards) would be high.
“We’re all good friends. We get along in the summer, do a lot of the same things. We had concrete floors in the basement, old wooden sticks, rollerblades, the two middle brothers against the oldest and youngest, to be fair.” Now, just as he learned he could go to junior through his older brother, his younger brothers have been shown a path.
“Last year when I played in Idaho, you discover all sorts of things about learning how to be a pro, being on your own, making good meal choices, always being challenged by new guys coming in, your billets aren’t going to make you a pre game meal or breakfast like mine did in Brampton.” Carrick seems to learn lessons quickly, he is set to spend time on the top line and on the power play for the Marlies, that’s a long way from potato country.
There is a lot of pay for play hockey left in the Carrick brother’s careers but if you plan on contending on the pond in the future, you might want to start practicing now. There is a talented foursome from Markham that has something better than hockey chemistry, they have family chemistry.