11-year-old Sheshatshiu hockey player wants to leave home to find better fit – Newfoundland & Labrador

The grandfather of a promising 11-year-old hockey player from Sheshatshiu is asking Hockey Newfoundland and Labrador to let his grandson play away from home.

Aries Benuen, 11, spent the last three seasons playing in the Lake Melville Xtreme minor hockey association. This season, however, the family has been told it isn’t possible.

“My grandson wants to play hockey in Goose Bay so he can play games and so he can play with his friends that he’s played with for the past three years,” said his grandfather, Sebastian Benuen.

At such a young age, Aries has aspirations and he’s been been making waves outside of Labrador.

Last season, he skated with a travelling atom club in three Canadian cities at AAA tournaments — the highest level for his age.

He hopes to be the next Alexander Ovechkin, but his grandfather feels he needs to play at a higher level than his hometown team in Sheshatshiu.

‘He does big checks,’ Aries Benuen says as he watches his favourite player, Alexander Ovechkin. (Jacob Barker/CBC)

Last year, Aries played atom-level hockey with the Xtreme in Happy Valley-Goose Bay since Sheshatshiu didn’t have a team at that level.

However, HNL rules say that players have to play for their home association if there is team at their age level.

This year Aries is playing peewee hockey and Sheshatshiu has a team for the very first time. 

“It’s unfortunate,” said Lake Melville Xtreme association president Keith Leonard. “I feel for Aries.” 

Hands are tied

HNL does allow for players to be released to a different town if their home team approves.

The Sheshatshiu league says it would allow for Aries to play in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, but the family says the Xtreme won’t budge.

“Right now my hands are tied,” Leonard explained. “We’ve got these policies in place to help Sheshatshiu build their association.”

Keith Leonard, president of Lake Melville Xtreme hockey association says if they make the exception for Aries, they’d have to do it for other kids as well. (Jacob Barker/CBC)

“If we do it for one, we have to do it for all… This is something that’s going to be huge because if we say, ‘Yes, no problem, you can release him to us,’ then it might mean other kids [will] do it.”

Sebastian Benuen said he has tried everything.

He’s been trying to get housing in Happy Valley-Goose Bay for the past couple of years.

A family member has also agreed to house Aries during the week, but they’ve been told the…

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