Marek ready for trip overseas

Hockey player will represent USA in youth tournament

BIG RAPIDS — Bradley Marek has grown up playing ice hockey since he could walk while following the Ferris State and Big Rapids hockey teams.

Now Marek, 11, will get to experience his own dose of big time hockey when he travels to Stockholm, Sweden, to compete in the Bauer World Hockey Invitational as a member of the United States’ team against some of the top young hockey players in the world.

The Bauer Euro Invite is an international youth hockey tournament organized by the same directors of the World Hockey Invite — the largest AAA hockey tournament in the world held annually every November in Chicago.

ROAD TRIP: Bradley Marek, of Big Rapids, will represent the USA in the Bauer World Hockey Invitational in Stockholm, Sweden. (Courtesy photo)

Marek tried out for the team after hearing about the tournament while playing on the Michigan Nationals, a AAA youth hockey team out of Grand Rapids. He will be joined by several of his Michigan Nationals teammates along with players from Texas and the Washington D.C. area. The team is scheduled to travel to Chicago for a warm-up contest on Aug. 6 before flying to Stockholm that afternoon. The team will compete in tournament play beginning on Aug. 9.

Marek hopes to take in the experience by going sightseeing and visiting national landmarks while competing against other hockey players from Sweden, Finland and Russia.

“It’s going to be pretty cool to compete against those teams,” he said. “I’m looking forward to hanging out with my teammates and doing some

sightseeing.”

Marek began playing hockey at the age of 3. He began to play in travel leagues in Grand Rapids when he was 7.

Marek’s father, Bryan, who played hockey for Big Rapids, said he felt a great sense of pride in his son being selected for the tournament because of all the hard work he’s already put in.

“All kids in the sport of hockey, no matter what level, put in a tremendous amount of work,” he said. “So it’s nice that the kids get to be rewarded. I think this shows him that hard work can lead to nice experiences and other opportunities.”

Marek will play forward for the USA, and expects the experience to be a positive one because of the connection he’s already made with his teammates.

“I’ve played with some of these guys for almost a year now,” he said. “I think I can bring some quickness, agility, speed and balance (to the team).”

Bryan Marek said because hockey played such an important role in his life, he’s proud to see that his son has taken a strong interest in the sport at an early age.

“He likes the competitive nature of hockey,” Bryan said. “He likes playing at the travel levels and knows what he has to do to make it, by keeping his grades up and all the work that goes in to playing. Playing at this level has been a reward for him.”

 

 

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