Fort St. John's Alex Hartman has recently made the Midget AA Tier II Hounds at the Athol Murray College of Notre Dame in Saskatchewan.
Hartman began Grade 10 at Notre Dame this fall, and amidst his schoolwork and golf competitions, he attended tryouts for the school's prestigious hockey teams.
Although he didn't land on the AAA roster he wanted, he and his parents see his experience as a blessing in disguise.
"They were definitely tough, definitely a big change of hockey," Alex said about tryouts. "I wanted to make another level up, but what happens happens, so now I'm just going to try to work my hardest to improve for next year and try to get to that next level."
"My schedule won't be as busy, so I'll have more free time than the AAA or AA Tier 1 [to work on his school]," he added.
His parents are pleased with that.
"As a dad I was pretty happy because the AAA travel a little bit further, so it's harder for him to do all his homework and get his stuff done, whereas AA there are closer trips," said Alex's dad, Lee Hartman. "He should be able to do his education very well and have a good hockey season."
"We weren't really prepared for him to play AAA. We felt that's the 17 and 16 year old that play that high of a level," Lee added. "We certainly hope he can compete at that level next year."
The final rosters for Notre Dames' teams were decided in late September but a schedule will not be in place until Oct. 14.
Although Alex is a bit disappointed that he's not on the AAA or Tier 1 roster, he's staying positive.
"I just felt like I should've made the Tier 1 team but I guess they didn't want me at that level yet," he said. "I told the coaches that I was going to work my hardest at the Tier II level and try to improve, and hopefully they see that."
When Alex graduates, he will join a list of alumni that includes NHL players Brad Richards, Jordan Eberle, Rene Bourque and Vincent Lecavalier -his dad is also hoping he'll land some scholarships.
"They're a high academic school, it's a big part of what he's there for, and finally getting him on a team is important because that was a goal," Lee said.
Thankfully his son has a similar vision in mind.
"My goal for school is to try to be 90 and above," Alex said, "And for hockey to work my hardest every shift."