For fifteen year old Connor Bertamini (“Bert” as he is known on the ice), making his way to the Western AAA Championship in Okotoks was a huge success in this young hockey stars career. Bertamini started playing hockey for Indus Minor Hockey Association in 2006 at the tender age of 5. Now, in grade 9 at Langdon School, this young man is showing all signs of an amazing hockey career.
“Connor played for IMHA (Indus Minor Hockey Association) until he was eligible to try out for Wheatland AA (based in Strathmore) as a first year Peewee. Connor played for the Wheatland Braves Peewee AA for two years. His second year of Peewee he was named captain of the team by Head Coach Keith Klemmensen. Connor tried out as a first year bantam player for the zone bantam AAA team but didn’t make it so returned to Wheatland where he played his rookie season for the Wheatland Warriors Bantam AA team. This past season he tried out and made the zone AAA team (Rocky Mountain Raiders Bantam AAA), based in Okotoks, AB”, said proud mom, Allyson.
“Connor’s last year with the Indus Hurricanes he played as an underage Peewee player. They had an impressive 31-9-4 record and ended up winning the CAHL Tier 2 Championship. His rookie season with the Wheatland Braves was amazing. They won the SCAHL North Division title and League Championship title and championship rings. This season was a difficult one at times for the Rocky Mountain Raiders Bantam AAA team. They competed amazingly well at tournaments in Chilliwack and at the Rocky Mountain Invitational in Calgary and were invited (for the first time in the team’s history) to the prestigious John Reid Memorial Tournament in St. Albert. The team ended up placing 3rd overall in the AMBHL South Division through regular season play, but were swept in the second round of playoffs by their rivals Lethbridge Golden Hawks. With only 5 games left in the season Connor ended up having an emergency appendectomy which put him out for the remainder of the season and all but the final game of the second playoff round. The Rocky Mountain Raiders were the host team for the 2016 Western Canada Bantam AAA Championships March 31-April 3. They ended up playing in the Gold Medal games vs the BC representatives the Burnaby Winter Club. They surprised everyone to get that far in the tournament and knock out 3 other provincial representatives including their rivals (Lethbridge Golden Hawks) who they beat 3-2 with the winning goal going in with just 2.6 seconds left in the game”, added Allyson.
“Winning that game against Lethbridge, was like winning the championship! That was our gold medal!” said Bertamini.
However, in that Western Canada Bantam AAA Championship gold medal game, The Raiders ended up losing 3-2 to Burnaby.
“Nobody thought we belonged there. We proved everyone wrong. There’s nothing wrong with a silver medal when you can say you are the second best team in Western Canada!”, added Bertamini, “It was the perfect way to end the season!”
Bertamini isn’t done yet though. April 8th – 10th, Connor is attending an AJHL spring training camp with the Calgary Canucks. He is looking forward to the WHL Bantam draft which happens at the beginning of May. “I want to play at the highest level I possibly can for as long as I can. I’d love to be able to have hockey help pay for my post-secondary education”, explains Bertamini.