An American in Chilliwack

Chilliwack’s only American player

Travis Belohrad is biting his nails this week.

The 19-year-old, Chilliwack Bruins forward is hoping, praying, pleading with the gods for Canada’s hockey team to lose the Olympics.

Not exactly something Chilliwack – a Canadian, hockey-loving town – wants to hear from one of its young guns.

But if you were in Belohrad’s position, you may be doing the exact same thing.

The kid can’t possibly bear any more ribbing in the locker room than he already has since joining the team in September.

Belohrad, you see, was born and raised in Superior, Colorado. He is the only American on the Bruins roster.

Like many of his teammates, he’s been skating on the ice ever since he was in diapers, and has worked his way up through the hockey ranks to where he is today.

But still, his place of origin seems to rank much higher than his skill in the locker room. He’s been called a yank, a dumb American, and pretty much any other slang term that bashes his homeland.

“I get it all the time,” he said. “Pretty much every day I’m hearing it.”

When Belohrad first started with the Bruins, he silently took the jabs from his new teammates, not daring to punch back.

“I didn’t want to come in as the cocky American,” he said.

But last month, when Canada lost to the United States in the 2010 IIHF World Junior Hockey Tournament, it was his turn.

Early on in the competition, when Canada beat the Americans in a shootout, Belohrad’s teammates wasted no time rubbing it in his face, pointing out that “his” team always finished second to Canada, that they never won gold, always choked.

And yet, even with the loss, Belohrad was confident that his country had a team that couldn’t be beat this year – not even by the beloved Canadians. So, he whipped out his wallet and challenged his teammates, much to their amusement.

Belohrad got the last laugh.

“After that first game, I knew that [the U.S.] were a quick team, that they had the skill and speed, and that Canada was having a hard time keeping up with them,” he said. “I had faith in them all along … the next day, I went into the locker room and asked the guys who won the game, and made it known whose country had the better team.

“But I didn’t go at them for too long, because I was pretty sure that half the team would be coming after me in practice.”

The taunts in the locker room somewhat simmered, but now that the Olympics are on, they’re back full force.

Belohrad doesn’t have the same confidence in the U.S. Olympic men’s hockey team that he had in the junior team, however, but he’ll be just as happy with any team beating out Canada for that top gold medal spot.

“As long as Canada doesn’t win, I’ll be okay in the locker room,” he said, rooting for Team Russia, led by Belohrad-favourite Alexander Ovechkin.

Belohrad knows that taunts are just part of the family dynamic of the team, like brotherly love.

“I don’t take it seriously, we’re just a group of guys messing around,” he said. “We’re here to play hockey, we’re here to do a job and it doesn’t matter where we come from.”

But still, he’d sure love being the taunter and not the tauntee.

Just Posted

Digging down deep reveals quirky bits of Chilliwack history

Algra Bros. crews setting aside some of the funkier finds from the Downtown Chilliwack site

Langley Anti-SOGI activist slams ban on dad speaking out about transgender son’s case

A judge has told the father to stop publicly objecting to his son’s gender

Young Chilliwack student finds success after near-death experience

Struck while riding a bike in 2016, Isabel Huang wins silver in regional science fair

Chilliwack school board making effort to foster better relationships

Board reaching out to parents via dinner event, and online forum

New housing reports will add to data Chilliwack is already collecting

Province of B.C. is providing funding to help communities collect and analyze housing data

Homeless activists outside Notre Dame demand ‘a roof too’

Wealthy people have donated millions to effort to rebuild cathedral after devastating fire

B.C. VIEWS: NDP’s lawyer show is turning into a horror movie

Court actions pile up over pipelines, car insurance, care aides

PHOTOS: Green Party Leader Elizabeth May says ‘I do’ on Earth Day

May and John Kidder got married Monday morning in Victoria

Victims injured in Lower Mainland deck collapse ranged from 15 to 83 years old

Victim Services staff have reached out to those hurt and their families

‘Ghost restaurants’ cooked up by Joseph Richard Group to meet demand of delivered food

The new Meal Ticket Brands venture aims to ‘disrupt’ the local restaurant industry

Sri Lanka invokes war-time military powers after nearly 300 killed in Easter bombings

Sri Lanka’s minister of tourism says 39 foreign tourists were killed in the Easter Sunday attacks

Torched SUV linked to Vancouver’s fourth homicide

Manoj Kumar, 30, was found dead from gunshot wounds in the Kitsilano neighbourhood

Multiple sailing waits as BC Ferries deals with Easter Monday traffic

89 extra sailings had been added to the long weekend schedule

Ex-mayor of northern village claims its drivers are overpaying ICBC $1,800 a year

Darcy Repen says data shows Telkwa households are being ripped off for car insurance

Most Read