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Newmarket hockey talent shares gold-medal tips for success

Team Canada U18 centre Denver Barkey visited kids at a Newmarket summer camp fresh off a gold-medal win at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup

Wearing his just-earned gold medal, Team Canada U18 member Denver Barkey told an audience of young Newmarket hockey players to keep fun in the game.

“I feel like I’ve always tried to have a smile on my face,” he told Newmarket’s Hockey Camp Sr. at the Magna Centre. “Pay attention, be respectful, and work hard.”

The local hockey star taught and played ball hockey with Newmarket’s young players during a special visit to the municipality-run camp Aug. 15. 

This comes after winning gold at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup in Red Deer Aug. 7, defeating Sweden 6-2 in the final of the U18 event. Barkey had two goals and two assists in five games. 

“Since I’ve been a kid, I’ve always seen Team Canada win gold,” he said. “To do that myself was really cool, and it was a super awesome experience getting a medal around my neck.”

Barkey said he always looked up to older players as a kid and was glad to do something similar to a new generation.

“I always want to inspire younger kids. This is a great opportunity this time to talk to them about how hard I’ve hard to work,” he said.

The young kids from ages nine to 12 asked the OHL player about getting into hockey, his favourite player and requested plenty of autographs. Barkey then played some ball hockey scrimmage with them.

The player can set a good example for the kids, town CAO Ian McDougall said, noting he grew up in Newmarket hockey programs. 

“Denver is an accomplished young hockey player," McDougall said. "His recent gold as part of Team Canada sets a positive example for young people that hard work, perseverance and self-confidence pays off”.

It is a big year for Barkey, as he prepares for his second season as a centre with the London Knights. Besides playing for his team, he will be playing for his future as he enters NHL draft eligibility in 2023.

“There’s a little bit of nerves, a little bit of pressure there,” he said. “I’ve worked as hard as I can this summer. I’m just going to try to do the best I can this year. Just play my game and do my thing.” 

The town will be cheering Barkey on, Newmarket Mayor John Taylor said. 

"I am proud of Denver and what he had accomplished, and I can assure you Newmarket is proud of Denver and we will cheer him throughout his career," he said. 

The young hockey talent reflected on his journey growing up in Newmarket, playing ball hockey in town just as the kids were. 

“I was one of these kids when I was younger,” he said, adding he wanted to “be a role model. Teach them what I had to do just to get to where I am.”