Family is defined as: “a group consisting of children and parents living together in a household”.
Team is defined as: “a group of players forming one side in a competitive game or sport”.
Polar Kings is defined by me: “as a group of well-rounded skilled players, working towards the same goal, learning together and developing our skills with the support of family and friends and continuing to have the faith to succeed and play the game we love”.
Being a Polar King and part of this organization has allowed me to grow and experience things that I would have never had the chance to if I didn’t attend that first try out in the late summer of 2014. To put it mildly, I was pretty afraid of tryouts. If I failed, I thought I would disappoint not only myself but I felt my family too. I was told I was a strong defenceman but until I was assured that I made the team my nerves were on edge. I thought I had a good chance with only one returning player - but nothing was for sure. I was chosen - I was relieved and my confidence was restored. September 2014 I became a Polar King!
The year started off entering this new system that was organized, regimented and with new faces and disciplined practices. I learned quickly that hard work and motivation was priority and the friendships and bonds of brotherhood soon followed. My dad told me these relationships that started in hockey will be beneficial in my future schooling, career and adult life. He said “You will never know where you will run in to an old teammate and the networking advantages they may hold.” I was fortunate to be a Polar King for 4 seasons.
Not being from the community of Wainwright - carpooling became a weekly regime. We got to know the particulars of each family and continued to bond with my parents as they gave up their free time to drive us to our practices and join us on the bus. Not only did my friendships grow, but so did my parents friendships develop with my teammate’s parents. On the bus, at the rink, in the community these friendships still exist. Seems we never go anywhere without knowing someone from our Polar King family.
My coaches taught me teamwork - this means working together and supporting each other on and off the ice. If someone had a bad day, we pat them on the back or give them a high five. My first year midget coach Jack McKinley taught me “in front of the net- just do the little things, like lift their stick. Work smarter not harder.” Dustin Martin told me that just because I didn’t have a letter, did not mean I wasn’t a leader. He and I both knew that when he needed me, he could count on me.
Our teammates were not just that - but friends joined by the passion for the same game. We showed compassion to a fellow teammate who lost a grandfather; we dressed in Polar King attire to show our care and honor of a grandfather who supported the team. And when we were in a state of emergency and my mom was in an accident upon our return home of a game in Wainwright - it was my Polar King family that showed immediate support and assistance as they embraced us and helped my family. We gathered together at functions that were apart from the regular season. We bonded as brothers during the summer months and then organized ourselves to participate at 3 on 3 and summer camps. Our friendships multiplied as we met other family members of our teammates; our networks continue to expand.
One of the greatest memories and still give me chills is in my 1st year Midget and our team was in 4th place going to divisional playoffs and we ended up in the finals going for 1st place for Divisional Champs against Lloydminster - we tied the game in the last .02 seconds of the game taking us into overtime. Well, the heart and hustle that each and every one of us showed was extreme and the Missle stood on his head. We WON - my defense partner Josh Laferriere scored. We yelled, cheered, cried and the reaction in the stands was no different. I even saw one of my own teammates console the oppositions goalie who was devastated by the loss - that showed kindness, consideration and how to stay humble. It was an amazing experience.
The lessons learned and memories on the bus will be forever in our hearts. The camaraderie and brotherhood on the bus and in the hotels will always be remembered. The meals, jokes, pranks and nick names earned from the entertaining bus trips. Playing cards, swimming pool antics and telling stories of times gone by will always be cherished. Most trips we had a new seat partner and we got to know each other’s likes and dislikes. These are things that I would never want taken away. These guy’s- teammates helped to make me who I am today.
Not everything I learned being a Polar King were hockey lessons but life lessons as well. This game taught me to never quit, no matter how far up or down your team was. Fight to the bitter end no matter how sore or tired I was. Some of the experiences I had were not all positive, but I know how to overcome obstacles, reverse judgements through communication and I am thankful for the strength that the good Lord has given me through my struggles and frustrations. As in 1st Corinthians 9 verse 24-27 it states “Do you know that in a race all runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self- control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.
I saw the pride in each of our faces when we donned our new 25th anniversary jerseys. Everybody loved them. They seemed to give us a new sense of pride and responsibility that we make this year a record year. We finished with one of the best regular season finishes and our captain set a new all-time Polar King goal scoring and point record. Our facilitator, Ron Laferriere, who managed the newly implemented sports psychology, did an amazing job of bringing us together - closer and helping us with a special bond. He gave us an extra push. Even to see him in the stands and roaring “Fire up PK, one more mile to go” seemed to show us his support and that he meant what he talked about.
Being a Polar King has taught me; time management and organizational skills, trust, understanding, respect, discipline, faith, problem solving skills and patience. It also educated me in relationship and social skills. I even am better skilled with travel management. J
I developed and grew throughout my four years of being a Polar King. I will always remember 3 honks for the WIN!
Entering into the big world, I plan to stay in Vermilion and attain my apprenticeship tickets in Journeyman Heavy Duty Equipment Technician, as well as Journeyman Electrical and finish with Business Management diploma. I will be taking the lessons I have learned in my past hockey experience to further my education and cope with real-life obstacles. At this time I would like to thank my Coaches, PK families and Executive Board Members for supporting a program to develop young men such as me in hockey and life. Without these experiences and the skills I developed, I know entering the next phase of my life would be much harder. I have a support system, friends and family to help me become the best I can be. PK Strong!!
Chase McFarlane #4
Aka: RD - the Real Deal