eye for talent

2021 nihm trevor iserhoff

Trevor Iserhoff holds a unique scouting position with Kam River’s fighting volley that brings him to spy First Nations communities across the country.

A few years ago, Kevin McCallum was on the road in northern Ontario on a screening trip.

“I was in Cat Lake for my job at the time, and the guy driving me pointed to a house and said, ‘The 17-year-old out there is the best skater I’ve seen. All my life.'” McCallum remembers. “No one was really looking at him.”

Today, McCallum is general manager of the Kam River Fighting Volleys in the International Superior Junior Hockey League (SIJHL), a Junior A circuit with teams from Ontario, Minnesota, and Wisconsin.

When asked if there is talent in First Nations communities in Ontario and even Canada, he always tells this story. He believes that many areas of the country have never been spied on by scouts, and that teams are missing out on great opportunities.

“I’ve seen so many great players who don’t have the backing of great coaches, but they have that talent,” McCullum said. “If we can actually spot them sooner and guide them through the process, hopefully we can take them to the place of Fighting Volley and beyond.”

Fighting Volleys are entering their second SIJHL campaign, although their extended season lasted only four games due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Since the club has entered the circuit, a priority has been to identify and recruit talent from First Nations communities; This aspect is so important that one of McCallum’s first appointments was that of Trevor Iserhoff, as the first Nation Scout. Iserhoff of Moose Factory, Ont., played minor hockey in the Thunder Bay area. He also played in the junior ranks in Ontario, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba, in addition to spending time in the United States.

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After his junior career, he played for a senior men’s team, and then he coached his children in hockey. Today, in his role, he has contacts across the country and seeks to identify First Nations players who have what it takes to play Junior A hockey.

“I had the opportunity to grow up with many good hockey players and today, they live across Canada,” comments Iserhoff. “I can approach them and ask them if they know people who have the talent to play junior hockey. There are people on social media who shake their hands at me and ask me, “Is this youngster good enough to play?” I spend a lot of time contacting people or receiving messages through social media. I have people from Nova Scotia to British Columbia who support me. I am not alone in this adventure. I have a lot of help. ”

Iserhoff is modest. The work he has done for Fighting Volley is remarkable and impressive. He grew up in a First Nations family, played junior hockey and has a good knowledge of junior hockey. His background is a splendid asset to the Kama River Club.

This background is also useful when Iserhoff visits the family of a young hockey player and talks to them about the benefits of engaging in fighting volley.

“It’s really important that parents trust us. They send their son to live in another city and meet new people,” Eiserhoff explains. “For me, parents try to sell them The idea of ​​sending my son to play on the junior hockey circuit is really rewarding. It helps to have these contacts who communicate with me and who support me by letting the parents know that experience. Will be beneficial to his son and he has what it takes to play junior hockey.”

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“When you come from a community of 500 to 1,000 and go to a city of over 110,000 like Thunder Bay, it’s really a culture shock and a different atmosphere. It takes a while to get used to, but once it Once done, you have the best time of your life playing junior hockey.”

The Fighting Walle roster currently has 11 First Nations players. The club is holding an optimistic camp in late August and is expecting players from northern Ontario and even Nunavut.

Iserhoff, who hosts the podcast ground hockey, in which he talks with First Nations players and tells their stories, setting an example that he hopes many others will follow, as he knows there are skilled players within these communities.

“I hope it becomes a trend, because First Nations has a lot of talented players who can help a lot of junior teams,” he said. “I am honored to be the first person in Canada to hold this very special position, but I have benefited from the help of many mentors and people who have inspired me in hockey. What I have learned from them is It’s my turn to move on.”

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