In the midst of an 11-day trip to Canada, East Islip Middle School student Devin Heffernan is living the dream of many young New York ice hockey fans. The seventh-grader, who has been playing the sport since he was five, was selected by the New York Rangers PeeWee Hockey Club to compete in the 53rd annual Quebec International PeeWee Hockey Tournament held in Quebec City. He will be coached by Doug Messier, the father of Rangers legend Mark Messier.
Heffernan is one of 20 players from the New York metropolitan area comprising this Rangers junior team, selected based on their hockey skills, dedication to the sport and exemplary off-ice conduct, including classroom achievement. Over 100 teams from around the world attend the tournament, which runs from Feb. 9-19 and attracts over 200,000 spectators.
Students such as Heffernan will have the opportunity to absorb the culture and history of Quebec, and they will be staying with local host families who attend the games. "It is a wonderful cultural exchange for all involved," said Doug Messier.