Dylan Kett has a plan.
The 17-year-old student at Ecole Secondaire St. Francois Xavier in Sarnia wants to wear the Team Canada jersey for our national sledge hockey team at the Paralympic Games in 2018 or 2022.
“I have to keep working hard and developing my game,” said Kett, a first-year member of the Windsor-based Team Ontario. He was the final cut from the squad last season.
His plan is to finish this season and play next year with the provincial squad before trying out for Team Canada’s Development team in 2016.
“I just want to take my game to the next level.”
But the personable forward who has a mild form of cerebral palsy didn’t always see himself playing the fast-growing sport.
His mom saw the game on TV when he was eight years old and thought her son should play to stay active. Admittedly, he wasn’t keen at first, but now says he couldn’t imagine his life without sledge hockey.
He trains several times weekly year-round with help from the staff at the RBC Centre, who provided free ice time last summer to help him stay sharp.
Earlier this season, Kett was chosen Player of the Game in the bronze medal contest at the Elite Tournament in Buffalo, featuring teams from Ontario, the U.S. and Russia.
He and his Team Ontario mates will return to Buffalo in late April for a high-calibre tournament in conjunction with the World Sledge Hockey Championships.
He also competed at recent tournament in Florida but scores weren’t available at press time.
Kett said the sport is growing in popularity because of media exposure at the recent Paralympics in Sochi, Russia as well as having a local player, Tyler McGregor, on the national team for kids to emulate.
“Tyler is a huge role model for everyone both on and off the ice,” said Kett.
“He is an inspiration to everyone.”