For the Journal
Sarnia’s Carter Cousins has been busy this summer with inline hockey, participating in three leagues as well as playing on the international stage.
Cousins, who plays roller hockey out of London, Mount Brydges and Fraser Michigan, had an opportunity of a lifetime, to not only represent his province, but his country as well.
After being the only Ontarian named to the Pure Maple team in April – Canada Inline’s national team – Cousins was also named to team Ontario in May for the U14 AAA division. This would see the local teen compete in two major tournaments – the North American Roller Hockey Championships in Irvine California, and the State Wars tournament that was held in fort Wayne Indiana – both of which were held in July.
The North American Roller Hockey Championships are regarded as the premiere tournament series for travel inline hockey, and has been home to the most elite competition in roller hockey since 1994.
Cousins and his U14 Pure Maple team finished 4th in the tournament’s platinum division, with Cousins finishing the tournament with four goals and four assists. He also finished third in the Top Sniper event in the skills competition.
“We were very proud of him,” said his mother Janice., “He went into tryouts with no expectations. He’s only been playing inline for two years, so when we got the word he made the team, we were pretty ecstatic.”
Cousins, who plays ice hockey in the winter, was introduced to roller hockey as a result of lockdowns due to COVID-19.
“My dad kind of got me into it with hockey being shutdown,” Cousins said. “I just had to improvise a bit to try and get better, and just fell in love with it.”
Cousins spent much of the lockdowns practicing outside – and it paid off. Not only did he have a strong showing against teams who are able to compete year-round, he went on to represent Team Ontario in Fort Wayne, Indiana at the State Wars tournament.
The 14-day tournament features 280 teams from eight different countries.
Once again, Cousins participated in the Top Sniper competition, a breakaway competition, where again he placed third.
Team Ontario finished round-robin play with three wins and a tie. They downed a pair of Illinois teams 5-3 and 10-3, then faced the only other Canadian team in their division, Team Alberta. Cousins’ Team Ontario would battle back from a 4-0 deficit to tie. Ontario would finish round robin play with a 7-6 win over Southern California. Cousins would finish round-robin play with three goals.
In the semi-finals, Cousins and Team Ontario would once again face Team Alberta, losing a tight one goal game 3-2, setting up a bronze medal matchup between Ontario and Team Pennsylvania.
He would score twice in the bronze medal game as Ontario would down team Pennsylvania 5-2, bringing home the bronze medal.
Cousins now looks ahead to ice hockey season, where he believes the competition he faced through the summer will improve his skills on the ice.
“I think for this season the footwork, the stickhandling and the dekes were the best things that roller hockey helped me with.”
Cousins will play on the U16 Sarnia Sting BB team this coming season, and no doubt looks forward to competing on the roller hockey floor again next summer.