GRAND HAVEN, Mich. (WOOD) — A 17-year-old from Grand Haven is one of just 21 hockey players picked to represent the United States at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup.
“If you’d of told me a year ago that I’d be playing for this team, there’s no way. I’d think you’re crazy,” said Mike Feenstra.
He’s now preparing for a trip to Edmonton, Canada in August.
“Basically, you’re talking about the best 17-year-olds in the whole country,” said former Grand Rapids Griffin and U.S. Olympian Travis Richards. “What an accomplishment and very well-deserved.”
The tournament features the top hockey players in that age bracket from eight countries.
“It’s always been a dream of mine, to represent my country playing the game I love,” said Feenstra. “And to actually be able to have the opportunity to do that is really a dream come true for me.”
Richards has high hopes for Feenstra.
“(I) think there’s a good chance you’ll be seeing him play on TV,” he said.
“He can skate like the wind and he’s got a great IQ,” Richards added.
Richards should know; he’s coached Feenstra since the boy was five years old.
“I knew probably his first year of Bantam,” Richards recalled. “So when he called me and told me, or tested me that he made the team, I wasn’t surprised at all.”
Feenstra, who will likely return to the Dubuque Saints of the USHL this fall, will be heading to Michigan State University next year. Considering 77 players from the Hlinka Gretzky Cup were selected in the NHL draft last month, Feenstra could go professional shortly thereafter.
“It’s always been a dream of mine, but I think this last year, I’ve really figured it out. It’s an extreme possibility for me to be an NHL hockey player. So I’ve got to make sure I’m working a lot harder every day, harder than the next guy,” Feenstra said. “You can’t waste a second when you have an opportunity to be an NHL player.”