Bryan Read has had his share of recent hockey accomplishments. And the 17-year-old, a member of the Hupacasath First Nation, is hoping to soon add another impressive accolade to his on-ice resume.
Earlier this month Read was named to the British Columbia boys' team that will compete at the National Aboriginal Hockey Championships (NAHC).
The national tournament, which will be staged in Saskatoon, begins on April 25 and will continue until April 30.
The NAHC will include eight boys' teams and seven girls' squads.
Read believes the B.C. side is capable of registering a Top 3 finish.
"Anything can happen, but I think we'll do really well," he said. "We have a good solid team. We have a really hard-working team and a lot of skill."
Besides the B.C. club, the boys' division will include teams representing Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Yukon, Northwest Territories and the Quebec-based entry called Eastern Door and the North (EDN).
The girls' category will feature the same entrants, except for the Yukon, which is not icing a female club.
Read had also competed at the 2009 NAHC in Winnipeg, an event the B.C. team did not have much success in.
"Two years ago we were winning most of our games at the start," said Read, who is a Grade 12 student at Alberni District Secondary School. "And then the other teams would come back and get some lucky goals to beat us."
B.C. did not send any of its clubs to the 2010 NAHC, which was held in Ottawa.
Though he did represent his province at the national tournament two years ago, that did not automatically give Read a roster spot this year.
About 80 players showed up to the B.C. tryouts held earlier this month in Merritt.
"I was unsure at the start (if I would make the team)," Read said. "But I was playing really well."
Based on their previous results at the NAHC, Read and his teammates are seeded seventh heading into this year's tournament.
Saskatchewan, which won the 2010 NAHC boys' title, is the top seed.
B.C. will open the tournament on April 26 against second-seeded Manitoba.
In its two other round-robin contests, both of which will be held on April 27, B.C. will square off against EDN and the Northwest Territories, which are seeded third and sixth, respectively.
Following round-robin action, all eight of the boys' teams will advance to the quarter-finals round.
Though Read said Saskatchewan and Ontario traditionally have strong teams, it would be hard to predict a favorite this year.
"I have no idea," he said. "It changes from year to year."
As for his recently completed season in rep hockey, Read had his share of successes, both as a team and individually.
He was the captain of the Alberni Valley Bulldogs' Midget A club, a team that included his 16-year-old brother Nathan. This marked the second consecutive year he wore the C on his jersey, signifying his captaincy.
Read led the Bulldogs to the Vancouver Island title in their league play.
And the Alberni Valley club also placed fourth at the provincial championships, held in Salmon Arm. The Bulldogs just missed out on winning some hardware, losing the bronze-medal contest 3-1 against a team from Surrey.
At the Bulldogs' season-ending banquet on April 10, Read was honored as being the team's most dedicated player, an award voted on by the team's coaches.
Read was pleased he was the recipient of that award.
"It shows how hard of a worker I am and that I work hard every day," said Read, who is an even 6-foot and 180 pounds. "Some guys take hockey as something they do for fun. I play it like it's my life. I take it seriously."
Read started playing hockey at the age of eight. His father Simon said his son has frequently been rewarded for his dedication to the sport.
"I think that's the fifth year he's won it," the elder Read said of the Bulldogs' most dedicated player award.
Simon Read said his son's versatility is undoubtedly a trait coaches love.
Read spent about half of his season patrolling the Bulldogs' blueline this past season. And when he wasn't playing defence he alternated between positions up front, with stints at both right wing and centre.
"I prefer defence," he said. "That's where I'm best at. But I'll play anywhere."
As for next season, Read is hoping to catch on with a junior team in the province. He plans on attending various tryouts for clubs in three different circuits, the British Columba Hockey League, the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League and the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League.