Recent high school graduate Connolly Ingram has been playing hockey from Bowen Island since he was eight years old.
He’s been catching the Queen of Cap’s first ferry at 5:30 a.m. and coming home on the water taxi for almost 10 years. This weekend his hockey commute is about to dramatically change.
Connolly has been carded by the Comox Glacier Kings to play Junior B hockey and this Friday he’s leaving his minor hockey career behind to play with the big boys. At 6’6” and a power forward, Connolly should fit right in but Bowen is going to miss him and the feeling is mutual.
“For someone like me to get to do this, follow my passion, knowing so many families from Bowen are supporting me, it’s like they have my back, and that’s just everything,” says Connolly.
He says it’s his love for the game that kept him getting up every morning. “I just love the game that much. It’s important to me. Hockey became part of my identity when we moved here in grade three. I picked up a hockey stick and that was it.”
The BICS tennis court at lunch hour was where it all began. Connolly, Ted Duffield, River Cooper, Keelan Hondro, Cooper Wright, Duncan Beale and his brother Angus were out there almost every day.
“It’s a big deal for me to leave this place. I’ve wanted to play a higher level of hockey since I was little, but it started here you know?” says the new Glacier King.
When asked what it takes for a Bowen kid to create something for him or herself in hockey given we don’t have a rink here, his answer is: “Commitment. You have to be committed because you sacrifice a lot of time and sleep. You also have to want it and love it. The ferry is what it is. There were times my dad and I would go in to town the night before and ‘ninja camp’ and just sleep over in our camper at the rink so we didn’t have to get up so early. I was only nine years old, and it was really fun. I didn’t know what commitment was then, but I do now.”
Connolly says he’s going to miss two things about those early morning and late night ferry rides: “talking to Louis [who works for BC Ferries]. He’s the best. He always makes my day better. That, and putting my earbuds in and chillin’ with my friends.
“My favourite part of the school day was hangin’ out twice a day on that boat.”
As for where he hopes this hockey journey will take him?
“I have zero clue,” says Connolly. “All I know is that I’m going to work my [butt] off, play to the best of my abilities and go as far as I can.
“I just want to stay in the world of hockey. If that means playing Junior A, or playing in Switzerland, or writing articles for hockey...Whatever it is, I’m in.”
Connolly leaves for Comox on Friday but he’s back in September to be part of a fundraiser called Ferry Tales: the good, the bad and the hysterical, happening September 14 and 15 at Tir-na-nOg Theatre. It’s a night of storytelling about all things aboard the Queen of Capilano, something Connolly knows a lot about.
If you want to support him and have a laugh at the same time, grab your $25 tickets at Phoenix and be ready to shout “cupcake for the win” from the stands!