Accept 9-year-old Ohio Elite Hockey League

Columbus, Ohio (WCMH) – It’s the dream of many young hockey players to get into the National Hockey League.

And while the National Hockey League may still be a long way off from 9-year-old Cooper Hackett, that dream became closer to reality when the boy was selected to be the third Ohio State to compete in The Brick Invitational Hockey.

“I wasn’t sure if my parents were lying or not,” Hackett joked, and his initial reaction to the news was disbelief. But then, his feelings changed: “I don’t know. I was relieved and happy. “

“I mean, it’s kind of surreal, frankly,” Cooper Hackett’s mother Nicole said. “To say we are proud is an understatement.”

Hackett is not only the third Ohio State to ever compete in the prestigious North American Championships being held in Canada, but he will also be the first to compete at the age of nine.

“It’s basically the best kids around. They bring in 240 kids,” said Joey Nahi, one of Hackett’s coaches and owner of Battery Hockey Academy in Blaine City.

The Brick is the most prestigious hockey league of 10 and under in North America. The tournament consists of 12 teams – seven from the United States and five from Canada.

“I think it’s great to be playing at such a high level with all of them,” said Hackett.

He will join some elite companies.

“The list of players who have played in this tournament, who have gone to the NHL, or gone to college, AHL — it’s just a never-ending list,” Nahay boasted.

Hackett joins Columbus Blue Jacket Jack Ruslovich and ex-Columbus Blue Jacket Cole Sherwood, as the only former Ohioans to have participated in The Brick.

“What makes Cooper so special?” asked NBC4 coach Hackett Nahi’s Matthew Hershek.

“Honestly, it’s just his heart,” Nahi replied. “You know what you’re going to get in every shift. He’ll go at 100%, skate as hard as he can, and just with consistency.”

Hackett spends countless hours on the ice, while his parents – who also have two daughters – spend countless hours on the road.

“Do you overdo it? Do you burn it? You know?” His father Jason said. “Everyone is different. There is no book on how to raise an elite athlete. It’s hard or rough.”

On the ice, it will be difficult to get past Hackett’s speed sleds and powerful slaps. “I didn’t set it as a goal, I just tried to do my best to reach it,” Hackett said.

So, while his parents say they are simply enjoying the present, they know how bright their son’s future is.

“Of course, though, right? But at the same time, there are a lot of things that can happen between the ages of 9 and 18, so you just have to try to stay grounded,” said Father Jason.

Hackett will begin training with his team for the tournament in May. The tournament itself takes place from July 4th to July 10th in Edmonton.

As for Hackett following in Roslovich’s footsteps?

“I think it’s great that he made it, and I made it too. Hackett smiled, and he’s in the National Hockey League so I think he’s really cool.

“Is that a goal of yours maybe one day?” asked Hershek.

He admitted “yes”.