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Central Newfoundland hockey prospects show off for scouts

Kobe Burt of Grand Falls-Windsor was one of two athletes from central Newfoundland to take part in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League's annual prospect showcase, called the Gatorade Challenge, in late April. The other was Bradley Blake from George's Point.
Kobe Burt of Grand Falls-Windsor was one of two athletes from central Newfoundland to take part in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League's annual prospect showcase, called the Gatorade Challenge, in late April. The other was Bradley Blake from George's Point. - Contributed

Kobe Burt is finally getting a little bit of a break.  

Bradley Blake is shown practicing with Team NL in this file photo
Bradley Blake is shown practicing with Team NL in this file photo

The 16-year-old from Grand Falls-Windsor spent this hockey season travelling.

In the fall, the Central IcePak of the provincial major midget league folded. Burt signed on with the Tri Pen Osprey, who are based out of Bay Roberts.

That meant hitting the highway every weekend for a game and most likely missing school on Fridays. That doesn't include trips to Moncton and Halifax for various tournaments.

Then, there was the Canada Games held in Red Deer earlier this year and finally, Burt represented his province at the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League's annual prospect showcase - the Gatorade Challenge - in late April.

That is quite a bit of movement for an athlete in a short period of time, but he takes it all in stride. Burt plans on taking this hockey thing as far as he can and hopes to be playing somewhere on the mainland in the fall.

The Gatorade Challenge is an annual showcase tournament for players from the Quebec league's catchment area who are entering their first year of draft eligibility.

Along with playing games against provincial teams from the Atlantic provinces and two teams from Quebec, the players are put through a series of on and off ice tests.

"I think I did pretty well and proved myself there," said Burt. "It was a great experience."

While Burt had the last couple of months to get himself ready for the showcase, George's Point's Bradley Blake was in a different situation.

A member of the hockey program at New Brunswick prep school Rothesay Netherwood, Blake had just worked himself back from a wrist injury prior to the event.

A centre by trade, Blake had the opportunity to show scouts he could fill a different role when he was asked to play on the wing during the tournament.

Like Burt, Blake has hockey in the crosshairs of his future.

With that in mind, he made sure to take note of everything that went on during the showcase.

He noticed how players from other areas conducted themselves off the ice. He took note of what people he met with were saying about acting like a professional at all levels.

"This is their job and you have to act accordingly," he said.

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