By Willie T. Smith
The Greenville News
GREENVILLE, S.C. – After a recent Greenville Grrrowl practice, an undersized goalie entered the net and began swatting away shot after shot from members of the ECHL team.
The goalie was 12-year old Logan Marks.
For the casual observer, the demonstration was just short of amazing. For the precocious son of Grrrowl coach John Marks, however, it was a simple training session. Logan Marks is one of four Greenville County youths whose skills have carried them to the hockey equivalent of the Little League World Series.
Marks, Kerry Wiant, Matthew Hogue and Corey Hucker will travel to Quebec City, Canada, in February to participate in the 46th annual Quebec International Pee Wee Hockey Tournament, one of the most prestigious youth hockey tournaments in the world.
They will team with 13 other 11- and 12-year-olds from the Carolinas and parts of Georgia and Virginia as the Junior Hurricanes, a Pee Wee team sponsored by the Raleigh, N.C.-based National Hockey League Carolina Hurricanes. The Junior Hurricanes are one of four teams from the South entering the approximately 120-team Quebec International — the others are from Atlanta, Florida and Virginia.
Of the 2,300 players from 16 countries in the field, the Greenville players are the only Pee Wee players from a South Carolina club competing in the tournament.
“To our knowledge there has only been one other Greenville kid compete in the tournament,” said Rick Hogue, Matthew’s father.
The Greenville youths joined 77 other players at a September tryout for the 17 berths on the team. The players were tested on their skating and stick drills for two days followed by a day of scrimmages in Raleigh.
“We didn’t really know what to expect,” Wiant, 12, of Greer, said of the four, who regularly play for the Junior Grrrowl in the two-state Carolina Hockey League. “We’d never been to a tryout like that before.”