Beran, 12, headed to Quebec for elite hockey tournament
Chase Beran's longest stay away from home before heading to the Quebec International Pee-Wee Hockey Tournament was two or three nights.
While traveling with his 12-year-old teammates, Beran, a Shaler resident, will spend a week away from his parents with a billet family.
“That's part of the whole experience for them,” Chase's father, Jim Beran, said. “We're on a frozen tundra honeymoon. It's very prestigious. We get kids from out of town, because the Penguins organization has a right of passage to go from this tournament.”
One element that will make the experience unique is the different culture. Chase will hear more than one language during his week at the tournament.
“I'm with one of my friends, so it will be a little easier,” Chase said.
“We also have a family that speaks French and English. It may be a little hard to understand them.”
One thing everyone at the event will understand is intense hockey. The tournament, which will be held Feb. 7-18, has more than 1,100 participants from previous tournaments who have played in the NHL.
Matt Herr, Chase's Pens Elite coach, spent parts of four seasons in the NHL with the Washington Capitals, Florida Panthers and Boston Bruins.
With all the players involved, Chase said he believes there will be a good opportunity to learn.
“I'm looking forward to playing high-paced games,” Chase said. “It's not like when you score every five seconds and it's really slow. I like really fast games. I think I'm going to learn a lot, like how to play a different style. Up in Canada, they play chippy and hit a lot. I want to learn how to do that but do it clean. Not get a penalty for hitting.”
Chase, who plays defense, began playing at about age 4. Both of his brothers played, and Chase got his start through Sidney Crosby's Little Penguins Learn to Play Hockey program.
Going to different venues to play helped him stick with the sport.
“I was watching it a lot because of my brother,” Chase said. “I was watching it, and I liked it a lot.”
Jim Beran and the other parents had to help raise nearly $100,000 to get the team to the event.
They had to fundraise before even knowing if they would get an invitation to play.
“They allow us to do a tournament to fundraise as well,” Jim Beran said. “We had 62 teams in town to fundraise for this team.”
Josh Rizzo is a freelance writer.