Enthusiasm and hard work paid off for Bay Blades player Chadd Stoppa who was delighted to receive official word that he has been selected to attend Canada’s National Para Program “NextGen” sledge hockey training camp later this month. Stoppa (Above, On the ice. Photo submitted) is a young man with not only a keen eye on an exciting future, but also a clear appreciation of what it takes to get there.
Chadd Stoppa – a player with ambitions
He told The Current, “I was really excited when I found out that I was selected for a chance to go to the Team Canada training camp. I am looking forward to getting a chance to go out and be on the ice with all of the other players. My goals are to keep training, playing and hopefully someday represent Canada at the Olympics. I would also like to say “thank you” to my family, friends and my community that continues to support my dreams.”
Stoppa’s mother, Anita Jessup, relates Chadd’s hockey history with pride: “We bought Chadd his first sledge when he was in kindergarten so that he could participate skating at the arena, during gym class. He loved it so much that he started to play occasionally in Ottawa at the nearest sledge hockey program. Between the sledge hockey teams in Ottawa and Barry’s Bay he has spent the last eight years playing in the Junior and Open Division. This past fall he played for the first time in the Intermediate Division for the Cruisers Cup Tournament. At the end of that weekend he was approach by Team Ontario to come and try out for them, and he earned a spot on Team Ontario in November. Then in February, he received an email from a Program Coordinator at Hockey Canada letting him know that he had been identified to attend Canada’s National Para Program NextGen Development Camp. We are so proud of Chadd. Looking back at Chadd’s sledge hockey journey, it has been a pretty amazing one so far. This year has been especially exciting. It’s been amazing to watch how his dedication and hard work are paying off. We continue to encourage him to dream big!”
Americo Morais, of Sledge Team Ontario, told The Current the National Team chooses who will participate in the NextGen program based on a selected few names that he and the Team Ontario coaching team put forward. He said, “Chadd has great potential.” He explained that Stoppa’s goal is to keep improving, so with his experience on the provincial team and now that he is 15 years old, “it is time for him to get exposure at the national level with Hockey Canada.” The staff and volunteers with Team Ontario, Morais said, do what they can to “keep the grassroots growing.”
The mandate of Canada’s hockey NextGen training camps is posted on the Hockey Canada website: “For Hockey Canada, the NextGen Prospects’ Camp is all about developing and evaluating the next wave of talent for our national sledge team program,” said Ken Babey, head coach of Canada’s National Sledge Team. “There are expectations and responsibilities that go along with being part of Team Canada, and with the growth and more formalized structure of sledge hockey across the country, we are now in a position to begin introducing the up-and-comers to those expectations at an earlier stage, which more closely mirrors what we do with our other men’s and our women’s national programs.”
Stoppa goes to the NextGen sledge hockey training camp in Montreal April 24-29. The Current congratulates Chadd Stoppa on his achievements to date and wishes him well for the future.