Cameron Clark wants to play in the NHL. It's a longshot, but it's also one worth taking.
BY MATT MENCARINI | STAFF WRITER
Cameron Clark wasn’t supposed to play hockey. He was supposed to play football, or something else. But that’s not always how things work.
“It certainly wasn't us,” his mother, Kris Clark, said when talking about her son’s introduction to hockey. “And it certainly wasn’t him. He totally got into it by accident.”
The accident happened when Clark was 6 years old and attended an after school program at the Skate and Shake. One of the activities was roller hockey.
“When I first started playing it was just fun, and I had fun doing it,” Clark said. “And then I got into a rec league and I had even more fun.”
He says playing roller hockey, which is four-on-four instead of ice hockey's five-on-five, helped him develop offensive and defensive skills.
“I know the tricks and how to get the puck away and hit,” Clark said. “It lets me know I’m really good at both.”
Once he started playing on an ice hockey travel team in 2008, Clark knew he loved the game and was committed to it.
Clark plays for the Orlando Junior Knights’ Bantam team. He travels to Orlando twice a week to practice and also has individual workouts at home.
It’s a heavy workload for a 13-year-old, but it’s all part of the path he’s set for himself. And the farther down that path he gets, the greater that workload becomes.
Next up, Clark hopes, is a chance to play at a prep school, which is a common path for seriously talented hockey players. He’s got his eyes set on one in Atlanta, he says.
After that, Clark hopes he'll have the chance to play in college. And after that, well, there’s only one more logical step: Clark hopes he’ll get drafted by an NHL team.
It’s a lofty goal, seeing as such a small percentage of college and junior players ever receive that honor.
But Clark is committed to taking a shot at that lofty goal. He knows he’ll never get there if he doesn’t take his shot.
Cameron Clark wants to make sure that accident of hockey fate was no accident.