Nine-year-old Peyten Shilton is headed for the big leagues with his pro-hockey dreams at the Kings of Vegas Tournament.
This annual tournament is held in Las Vegas with international and national teams that work on the development of pro-hockey skills.
Peyten is currently in the third grade in Cochrane, and is also pursuing his love of the iconic Canadian sport.
“I like making new friends and scoring goals. I just like hockey,” Peyton said.
When he was just seven years old, Peyten made the novice one team and then went on to play in the Alberta Super League.
The young player’s dad, Paul, says that his son has always had a passion for the game, and it shows through his hard work and commitment.
“He’s pretty hard-wired. So, if we are not on the ice somewhere, he’s at home stick-handling, on his rollerblades or shooting pucks downstairs,” Shilton said.
“He’s 100 per cent committed to it. He’s on the ice probably two to three times a week in the off-season and in the winter, it’s almost five days a week.”
The novice player will be joining Toronto-based team Pro Hockey Development at the tournament.
Paul says that participating in an international event like this is great just for the hockey experience alone.
“It’s playing against other elite level players, which only increases his development,” said Shilton.
“It’s a chance for him to get exposed at a young age to that kind of competition level, do some travelling, play with some different players and meet some different friends.”
Paul was also a hockey player, playing in junior and professional leagues.
He says it was the connections he made during his time playing the sport that helped his son connect with the coach of this Toronto-based team.
“The gentleman that runs it is a former friend and colleague in the scaling ranks, and he now is the assistant GM with the Phoenix Coyotes,” he said.
“He now runs the pro-hockey development program out of Toronto and they were looking for a couple more players to join the team. So, I just made a phone call and sent him some videos of Peyten and they confirmed with their coach.”
Young Peyten, is excited to go abroad and represent Cochrane and Alberta in this American hockey tournament.
He says the one word he can use to describe how he is feeling is, “proud.”
Along with playing hockey all day long, Peyten plans to tour around Las Vegas, make new friends and most importantly, have fun.
“I will be swimming and having a party at the pool,” Peyten said.
Paul adds that they have gotten great feedback from family and friends, along with Peyten’s coaches about his participation in this tournament.
“We are very proud of the hard work he has put in, and the commitment level that he shows,” Shilton said.