ST. ANTHONY/LABRADOR CITY, N.L. – After a long journey, across much of Europe and the Atlantic Ocean, Nicholas Sexton arrived at his grandparents’ St. Anthony home to a hero’s welcome.
On Wednesday, July 4, the 15-year-old showed up, with a medal draped around his neck, to cheers, hugs and congratulations from family and friends proud of his achievements.
The young man had just finished competing in the Under-16 World Ball Hockey Championships in the Czech Republic as a defenseman for Team Canada East.
The team won a fifth-place medal in the process, finishing with three wins and two losses.
It was Sexton’s second time playing ball hockey competitively, having competed in the nationals in Kitchener, Ontario last year. But this was his first time playing in an international tournament.
The competition was held in Prerov and Zlin, Czech Republic from June 28-July 1.
Sexton told The Northern Pen he enjoyed competing against players at such a high level.
“The speed of the game, it was a lot faster out there,” he said. “A lot of high talent out there, a lot of good players.”
Team Canada East was comprised of players from Newfoundland and Labrador as well as Ontario.
They finished third in their division and competed against USA Blue in the match for fifth place.
They won that game, 4-0.
Sexton was pleased with how well they did.
“Obviously you want to win but we all think we all played well and played our hardest, and we just didn’t come out with the outcome we wanted,” he said. “But I think I’m pretty pleased with how I played and with how our team performed out there.”
As a player, Sexton emphasizes his defense and his playmaking ability. In the offensive zone, he takes on a pass-first mentality, looking to his set up his teammates to score.
Smiter Kaila, an Indian defenseman, is a ball hockey player he often watches clips of to model his game after.
During the 10-day visit to the Czech Republic, the team got to do some sightseeing as well.
Sexton enjoyed the experience.
“It was nice out there,” he said, on a full day of sightseeing in Prague. “It was really different. The food out there was different.
“Overall it was different, it being a different country. It was a great trip overall, I met a lot of new people and a lot of friends. It was just a great experience overall.”
Sexton was also glad to come back to see all the support from family and friends.
“I didn’t expect to have all these people here, but I’m pleased and I’m happy for all the support I have, from family and friends, from my coaches, to help me get where I’m at today,” he said. “So, I just have to say a big thank you.”
In a couple weeks, Sexton, who currently lives in Labrador City, will be competing for Team Labrador in the provincials held in St. John’s.
Sexton’s also hoping to be selected for the provincial team who will compete at the nationals in Fredericton, New Brunswick.