Watching James Wilson power across the ice you would never guess he is a reserved, quiet and sometimes shy boy. James is a player from our Vancouver HEROS chapter and he started when he was five years old. Normally players start with HEROS between grade three or four, but as his Uncle Nick describes, “he just wanted to play hockey. I knew the program and what it does for kids.” James comes from a family with a long HEROS tradition, his uncle is Nick Wilson, one of HEROS early participants whose journey with HEROS was covered in our September 2018 Along the Boards issue.
Nick explains HEROS has definitely influenced James’ engagement and approach to situations. James went from the shy, quiet kid when he first started at HEROS to now pushing himself to go for things like trying out for the rec team.
His dedication paid off and he earned a spot on a PeeWee A1 recreational team. While playing for his competitive team James still participates in the HEROS All-Stars program. This program gives participants an opportunity to mentor younger players and volunteer on the ice helping kids with skating drills. As someone who has a mentorship role with HEROS, Nick knows how important this experience is for James and how much he is learning “leadership and accountability… these things slowly build on each other and these are skills that he can use further down the line.”
James’ teacher, and HEROS volunteer, Justin Borsato has noticed a difference both on and off the ice. James has always been a gifted athlete, but this year Justin says is he’s going above and beyond in the classroom and helping people out. James has benefited from the positive role models HEROS has in its Vancouver chapter and if he needs advice, he knows he can look to Nick, Norm or Justin as soundboards for his decision-making process.
James is a shining example of the potential every kid has within them if given the right opportunity. Nick sees the tremendous steps that James is taking in his life that he didn’t see prior to this year. Beginning as a shy and quiet kid James has grown into a leader within the HEROS program and others are taking note of his successful transition bringing the skills he learned as a young player into his everyday life.