AKWESASNE — It had gotten to that point in practice. Ontario Minor Lacrosse Association coach Greg Phillips needed somebody to control the ball.
It was for a familiar situational drill. The usual exercise of rehearsing how to run out the clock. Phillips would set it up, as he always did.
He’d place every player on his roster, to one side of the box lacrosse floor. On the other side of the floor, there would be Carey Terrance, Jr.
Game of Thrones’ Jon Snow staring down an entire cavalry.
“And I’d say (to Carey), ‘OK, just run by ‘em,’” Phillips said.
Each time, Terrance would. Then, he’d be gone, out in front of everyone until the clock hit zero.
“He’d run by them with ease,” Phillips said. “They couldn’t catch him.”
Although it won’t be for lacrosse, Terrance’s competitive drive and athletic talent has landed him on the U.S. Under-17 Men’s Select hockey team. The roster is made up of 20 players who participated at USA Hockey’s BioSteel Boys Select 16 Player Development Camp. There, they were scouted and chosen for the team, which will compete at the Under-17 Five Nations Tournament, in Visp, Switzerland from Aug. 17-21.
The U.S. will compete in the tournament, along with the Czech Republic, Germany, Slovakia and Switzerland. The U.S. has won seven titles at the competition since 2007 (2010-13, 2015-17).
“It hasn’t fully hit me. I think when I’m there and I’m with the team, it’ll hit me once I put the USA jersey on,” Terrance said. “I’ve never been overseas, so that’s going to be awesome.”
Phillips coached Terrance in minor box lacrosse for three years (2017-19) — for the Akwesasne Storm. He’s never coached him in hockey.
But even in lacrosse competition, Terrance’s dancing and juking across the floor stood out.
“(It stuck out) very easily,” Phillips said. “He’s so fast. And he’s smart.”
“He’s been the fastest kid on the team. Every time.”
But it’s the endurance that’s coupled with Terrance’s quickness that can be such a rarity, Phillips said.
“Usually, kids who can win at a sprint, (who can) be in first (for a sprint), usually can’t in a marathon, too,” Phillips said.
“But (Terrance) can do both. He’s one of probably two kids I’ve ever had who could do that.”
The only other player Phillips compared Terrance to athletically is Lyle Thompson — National Lacrosse League forward for the Georgia Swarm.
“I’ll get one or two kids who could stay close to (Terrance), in the sprint — but not in the endurance,” Phillips said. “There’s not really anyone near him.”
Carey, Sr. and Ashley Terrance put their son in skates as soon as he could walk. At around 18 months old, Carey Jr. was waddling around atop two pairs of blade posts. By 3 years old, he was on the ice, his father said.
“It just always came natural to him,” Carey Sr. said. “His skating has always been his strong suit.”
Although he attended Salmon River Central School — Carey Sr.’s alma mater (2000 graduate) — this past year, Terrance, Jr., who is going into his junior year in school, did not play hockey for the Shamrocks.
“My dad (is my role model) and to this day is still teaching me — the most I know,” Terrance Jr. said.
Terrance Jr., who most recently suited up for the Kemptville 73’s (18U), moved home this past year to the U.S.-portion of Akwesasne after having moved away to Toronto in the eighth grade. He previously attended The Hill Academy, in Ontario. Last year, he played for the Toronto Titans of the Greater Toronto Hockey League, before the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic cut the games short.
More hockey will be in Terrance Jr.’s immediate future once he returns from Switzerland. In the Ontario Hockey League’s most recent draft, the Erie Otters, a junior team based in Pennsylvania, took him 10th overall.
Terrance, who grew up an Ottawa Senators fan, hopes to one day get a call from a professional team. His next goal is to someday be drafted by an NHL team.
Carey Sr. is most proud of his son for his work ethic.
“Putting in hard work is the hardest thing to do for a hockey player these days,” Terrance Sr. said. “To take your game to the next level you really have to put in the work that other kids aren’t willing to do.”
Terrance Jr. leaves for Visp on Tuesday. For now, in addition to competing, he’s most excited to meet new people.
“There’s kids from all over. The biggest thing for me is just meeting new friends,” he said.