Cody Carver poses with his gold medal and the championship trophy from the Czech Challenge Cup in Prague, Czech Republic, last month.
Touring the great cities of Europe would have been more than enough for most high school students on their summer vacation.
For Cody Carver, throw in being the only American player on a Canadian team that won the most prestigious summer hockey tournament in Europe, and you’ve got an idea of how his summer went.
“It was a once in a lifetime trip definitely worth it,” said Carver by phone from Vancouver, Wash., where he is playing Junior B hockey for the Fort Vancouver Pioneers this year.
Carver, who lists Soldotna as home and played for Kenai Central High School last year, was invited to play for an under-17 team representing Canada and based in British Columbia in the Czech Challenge Cup in Prague, Czech Republic, last month.
Carver was scouted by coach Don Stoneadge at a hockey showcase in Vancouver, British Columbia, last spring and was invited to join Team Canada/BC Polar Bears for the tournament.
“I always take an American boy,” Stoneadge said. “At that time I was looking for one forward, and Cody was by far the best ‘88 (his year of birth) in that group there.”
The team had a training camp in Budapest, Hungary, and after breaking camp, defeated Team Hungary 5-0 in an exhibition game. Team Canada then beat Team Slovakia 8-4 in a tournament tune-up.
The team opened the Challenge Cup with a 14-3 win over the Czech Republic, and followed that with a 3-2 win over Poland, a 7-0 win over Slovakia and a 3-2 win over Team USA.
In the semifinals, the team notched a 2-0 win over Russia, becoming the first team to record a shutout against the perennial powerhouse.
In the tournament championship game, Carver’s British Columbia team faced off with a team from Saskatchewan and battled to a 2-0 win.
During the 8-0 run, Team Canada outscored opponents 31-7 and averaged 40 to 50 shots per game. The squad also played a very physical game, averaging 40 to 50 hits per game.
The squad was the first team from Canada to win the gold in that age bracket at the tournament, and was the first to go undefeated.
“It was a special moment when this team won the gold medal. I’m really, really proud of their accomplishments. This was a really talented group of hockey players,” Stoneadge said.
Stoneadge described Carver as a solid two-way forward and a gritty, physical player.
“Cody played in lots of key situations in the tournament and did an excellent job. I felt like Cody’s contributions were a big part of the gold-medal win,” Stoneadge said.
Carver said winning the tournament was the highlight of the trip, but said he also enjoyed the sightseeing in Hungary, Germany, Austria, Slovakia and the Czech Republic.
“It was pretty amazing. I enjoyed it a lot,” Carver said.
Carver said picked up some new things from his teammates on the ice and added that the competition was great.
Stoneadge said most of the players from Team Canada were headed to Junior A and Major Junior training camps.
While Carver, a senior in high school, has caught on with the Junior B Pioneers, he said he’d like to play Junior A next year.
“He’s a boy that can play at the next level. There’s no doubt in my mind,” Stoneadge said.
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Kenai’s Ward plays for George Fox
Wally Ward, a graduate of Kenai Central High School, is a senior midfielder for the George Fox University men’s soccer team in Newberg, Ore. Ward has started all six games for the Bruins, who are 1-5 so far this season.
The Next Level highlights Kenai Peninsula athletes who participate in sports beyond the high school level. If you know of such an athlete, contact the Peninsula Clarion sports department by phone at 283-7551, by fax at 283-3299, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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