A local hockey player says niá: wenhkó: wa

(Courtesy of Kobe McComber)

On November 16, Kahnawa’kehró: no hockey player Kobe McComber intercepted the puck inside the blue line. His wrist shot ricocheted off the right goal post, but he landed his own rebound and calmly put the puck in the back of the net for his first goal as a Junior B hockey player.

“I was like ‘wow, this really happened this time,’” McComber said. “It was a pretty good feeling.”

That night he got home around 1:30 a.m. – but that wasn’t because he was out late to party.

McComber and his new team, the Brockville Tikis of the Eastern Ontario Junior Hockey League, were playing an away game west of Ottawa, so he spent those late night hours eyes fixed on highway 417.

The trip back to Kahnawake from Carleton Place, Ontario takes approximately two and a half hours.

His teammates, meanwhile, relaxed on a team bus heading in a different direction, returning to Brockville in just over an hour.

The tedious four-hour round trip to Brockville for practices and home games became more and more stressful with the onset of winter weather, so McComber decided to stay with a teammate’s family in the city of. Ontario.

However, the $ 600 a month for shelter and a daily meal was more than he could afford on his own. He had already spent $ 4,000 in league and team fees and a mandatory set of CCM branded equipment.

McComber took to GoFundMe, a popular crowdfunding website, for help from the community.

“I didn’t want to hope too much,” said the left winger. McComber expected $ 10 here or there, which he would have been grateful for, so he was surprised to see his GoFundMe rocket go over $ 2,000 in a day and a half after sharing it on Facebook.

“People who don’t even know me supported me,” he said.

Leah Diome is one of the Kahnawa’kehró: non who contributed $ 50. She knows McComber’s parents and often saw the 20-year-old drop by his store, The Purple Dragonfly Trading Post, to visit his girlfriend, who worked there part-time.

“Kobe is a good, hard-working human and a great role model for the youth of Kahnawake,” said Diome.

McComber plans to pursue hockey as far as it takes him. For now, he is focused on the current season and hopes his team improve to a 5-11-1 record.

After a period of uncertainty, the Tikis have a new coach at the helm, Dustin Traylen. “He really brings the game to us and makes us think about everything you really need to think about,” McComber said. “He brings a different style of play, and that kind of reflects in our game.”

McComber described his team as a second family.

“It’s a very good experience overall,” he said. “Win or lose, we’re just going to play hockey.”

His schedule keeps him more than busy, but his partner is well equipped to understand it – Kyla Morris also plays hockey at a high level, in her case with the Dawson College Blues Division 1 women’s team.

“I am very happy that Kobe is playing high performance hockey,” said Morris. “He always wanted to and he pushed himself to make his dream come true. He is doing well and making a difference on the ice.

Morris attends McComber’s home games on Wednesday evening, returning to attend his Thursday morning practices, which begin at 7 a.m.

McComber is still accepting donations on his GoFundMe page, which at the time of writing this article has raised nearly $ 2,700 – still below his goal of $ 6,500.

[email protected]

Catherine J. Martinez