A BALLYMONEY teenager has been awarded a top honour in leading ice hockey circles of which he plays a key role.
Chris Boyd is a netminder or goalie for the Junior Belfast Giants and is regarded as one of the brightest prospects in the country.
Last week Chris was appointed as a fully accredited UK ambassador for Nekoti Sher-wood, one of the top three ice hockey equipment manufacturers in Canada along with Bauer and Reebok.
He will help promote the name Sher-wood and raise the profile of ice hockey in Northern Ireland. For the rest of the season Chris will receive assisted sponsorship from Sher-wood Hockey to develop his game skills to the next level.
Nekoti Sher-wood is running a 10-week Facebook campaign to appoint 10 ambassadors, at any level, throughout the UK to help promote their brand. It is a testament to Chris that within one week of being nominated he received over 500 votes to take first place. He received backing from Egypt, Argentina, Canada, NZ, several cities in USA not to mention all over Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
Chris is looking forward to visiting the Nekoti Sher-wood UK headquarters in Royal Wootton Bassett, where he will be supplied with a complete new goalie kit worth in the region of £2000.
Mr Ken Forshee, Business Development Manager told his mum June that the office were amazed at how many votes Chris received in such a short space of time, as many of the nominated kids were on from day one of the campaign.
He said the staff were looking forward to meeting Chris and he is arranging to visit him and the rest of his team when they are on one of their visits to Scotland.
He was delighted that ice hockey was being represented in Northern Ireland where it remains a relatively minor sport.
Last season Chris played his first competitive ice hockey games in Scotland and was awarded ‘Man of the Match’ in his very first game. He was asked to ‘play up’ with the under 16 team at a tournament in Fife where he received the accolade of being named Goalie on the All Star Team, to the delight of his older team-mates.
He then went on to win Goalie on the Dream team when he played in another tournament in Ayr, and was asked to ‘guest’ as Ayr’s goalie in the final when their goalie became unavailable.
Junior Belfast Giants are entering the Scottish leagues this year, with all games being played away due to the limited ice time available at the Ice Bowl.
Chris also plays for the Northern Cyclones inline hockey team in Bangor. He has helped his teams win the league titles at every age group from u12, u14 and u16s for the past six years.
He travels twice a week for ice training, Friday nights when Dundonald Ice Bowl closes to the public at 10.15pm and again on Sunday evenings and then trains for inline in Bangor on Saturday mornings.
Last year he represented Great Britain in Los Angeles at the AUU Junior Olympics for Roller Hockey which was a great honour.
Although he is the only boy in Ballymoney who plays the sport, he receives a lot of encouragement from his class-mates and teachers in Ballymoney High School, where this year he has been able to incorporate his favourite sport into his PE course for GCSE.
After being seen playing in Scotland since March, Chris has been discussed on national hockey forums as being a ‘great prospect’ and a kid with a natural talent for what he does.