A young Portage la Prairie product travelled across the world to compete against some of the best hockey players in his age group.
10-year-old Jack Klippenstein represented his country in Tampere, Finland this summer at the Eurofest Tournament. He says the style of play was a little different than he expected.
"The games were rough. There was a lot of body-checking."
Jack notes that he wasn't only on the receiving end of hits, as he dished out his fair share of checks, as well. The tournament consisted of teams from Latvia, Sweden, Czechia, and Finland, with Canada and the United States joining forces to make one team.
The forward says he made a lot of friends from all across the world, connecting heavily with a few players from Latvia.
"Our team did pretty good. We beat Latvia."
Jack gifted three of his Latvian friends with Portage Minor Hockey jerseys. According to his dad, Trevor, the boys loved them so much that they went three days without taking the jerseys off.
The rising star performed well at a few ID Skates around the country to qualify for this opportunity. Jack believes he impressed the national team's coaches with two things.
"I think working hard and doing a little bit of body checking impressed them."
Jack's dad Trevor was extremely proud of not just his son but the entire Canada/USA squad.
"The competition was very stiff out there. A lot of these teams have played together for a long period of time, whereas, these kids get thrown together about two weeks beforehand," Trevor explains. "They played a big quarterfinal game against Sweden and only lost 3-1. It was very close right up to the end."
Jack notes he had to adjust to the way things were officiated overseas.
"Those refs talk a lot. I got talked to like two or three times. They told me to cool down."
The forward says he was trying to match the physicality of the opposing teams, but the referees didn't seem to see things through the same lens. Trevor says Jack loves the physicality.
"Jack was in a tournament in Chicago earlier this year, and he got a warning from the refs out there. He's the only 10-year-old I know that's been warned in three different countries about his physical play."
Jack finished the tournament second on his team in goals and third in points. Overall, the young player is very grateful to have experienced a tournament of this calibre in such a cool place.