Hancock returns from Czech Republic with ball hockey gold

TISDALE, MELFORT — After winning bronze with the Tisdale Trojans at the Telus Cup this spring, Jeremy Hancock now has a gold medal for his collection.

The Melfort product helped Canada West win the U16 division at the World Junior Ball Hockey Championship in Prague, Czech Republic. In a back-and-forth final, Canada West bested Canada East, 8-6, to win gold. Hancock, a defenceman, said he enjoyed the experience of playing against other top ball hockey nations.

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“What impressed me most about Jeremy was probably his poise and under control attitude,” Canada West head coach Paul Kastes said. “He fit in seamlessly to our system and quickly earned the coaching staff’s trust in key situations. Jeremy is a no maintenance player. He simply does whatever job is asked of him well. It was truly a pleasure to coach Jeremy at the World Championship.”

Canada West went undefeated at the international event. The squad outscored the opposition 30 to 10. Kastes said the team was successful because all 22 players bought in, accepted their roles, and performed them to the best of their abilities.

“We played a simple game that allowed the superb skill of the players to come to the forefront,” the head coach said. “Our team faced adversity throughout the tournament, however we always stayed the course. We didn’t get to high or two low. We stayed level headed throughout and that allowed us to overcome adversity throughout the tournament.

“Most importantly, our team came together quickly and formed a very strong bond, often referring to each other as family. That is the key to a championship team!”

Canada West counted on Hancock for solid play on the backend.

“He was a reliable defensive D-man who moved the ball extremely well up the floor,” Kastes said. “He played a big role on the penalty kill.”

This was Hancock’s first time overseas and he really enjoyed the experience. After the championships, he had an opportunity to explore the Czech Republic. He met his mom’s cousin, who lives there. In addition, Hancock visited the Pilsner Urquell brewery and various churches and historic buildings.

After playing his first bantam season with the North East Wolfpack, Hancock competed during the 2017-18 season at OHA Edmonton in the prep ranks. It was there he got involved in ball hockey when his friend’s team needed players and his pal’s father asked him to play.

Hancock said that ball hockey is not as fast as the ice version of the game and there is more space. In addition, he said you can curve the ball.

“I just absolutely love ball hockey in every way,” Hancock said.

He also certainly enjoys ice hockey. Hancock had four goals and eight points in 44 games for the Trojans last season. His play helped the team place third at the Telus Cup midget AAA national championships.

“I really enjoyed the billet program and going to Telus,” said Hancock, who lived with Pat Bladen, of his time in Tisdale.

With junior hockey camps ahead, Hancock is unsure where his hockey journey will take him this coming winter. He will be trying out for the Western Hockey League’s Red Deer Rebels, who picked him in the fourth round of the 2018 WHL Bantam Draft. That same year his hometown Mustangs picked him in the second round of the SJHL Bantam Draft. Hancock also plans to attend their camp.

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