It’s a well-known fact that for its size, Fort St. John produces a lot of high-calibre athletes in a variety of sports, including Denny Morrison, Bo Hedges and Mark Hartigan to name a few.
Alex Hartman, 15, will perhaps be as well known some day, as the local teenager is taking the initiative to become the best hockey player he can.
This fall Hartman will be attending the Athol Murray College of Notre Dame in Saskatchewan, a school renown for its athletic programs and achievements, where he will take the hockey program.
Some National Hockey League players who attended Notre Dame for its hockey program are Vincent Lecavalier, Jordan Eberle, Rene Bourque, Brad Richards and Wendel Clark.
“It exposes me to better hockey, scouting and stronger competition, which I wanted to do for this year coming up,” Hartman explained from Lakepoint Golf & Country Club on Tuesday, where he was playing golf. “I wanted to make sure I was noticed. I can either improve and show that I’m a good player or show that I’m not ready. It’s like a test.”
“I heard stories from other people who went there and really liked it. I looked at it before and thought it was a cool school.”
Living in Fort St. John, Hartman says it’s almost impossible to impress an NHL scout, considering they rarely make the trip up north.
“It’s very hard to be seen by the scouts, they usually don’t come up to Fort St. John,” he said.
“We have pretty good development, it’s just the scouting. Nobody wants to come up to Fort St. John from Vancouver to watch a game. Fort St. John doesn’t have a AAA league anymore, so we’re not that big of a team, which is also why the scouts don’t really care about us.”
By enrolling in Notre Dame, Hartman has a much better chance of being noticed while improving his skills on the ice. He will also get the opportunity to play more golf, his next favourite sport, since the Notre Dame insists he major in two sports.
Considering Hartman’s recent accomplishments in golf, this shouldn’t be an issue.
He and Jake Lane from Fort St. John helped represent Zone 8 in golf at the B.C. Summer Games from July 19-22. Although they didn’t place well, Hartman had an enjoyable experience.
“I didn’t really care [how I placed],” he said. “After what I shot there I tried to blank that out of my head. I liked the experience I just didn’t want to remember those scores.”
“It was cool. I got to play with people from all around B.C. I hit the ball well, I just didn’t score well.”
His next two tournaments had much different outcomes. Hartman won the Lakepoint Junior Open on July 26 with a score of 80, then placed first at the Fort St. John Links Junior Open on Aug. 9 where he shot 82.
Before moving to Saskatchewan at the end of the month for school, Hartman will compete in the B.C. Juvenile Boys and Girls Championships Aug. 21-23 at the Princeton Golf Club in Princeton.
After the first two days of the tournament there is a cut and Hartman is hoping to make it.
“My goal is, if the cut is 81/81, then my goal’s to make the cut, but if the cut is 75/75, my goal is just to shoot well,” he said. “There are people [there] that can golf ten months of the year and they put all their time into golf, all their money into golf, their families are rich.”
“It should be tougher.”
By being a strong, well-rounded athlete who takes the initiative, Hartman should have no problem excelling at Notre Dame. He's also pretty humble and appreciative to boot.
When asked which NHL team he would want to be drafted by someday, Hartman shrugged.
"I don't care. If I got drafted, I'd be happy."