A former member of the Yellowhead Chiefs, Shaq Merasty, has been named to the roster of Men's Team Canada which will compete for the 2017 ISBHF World Ball Hockey Championship in Pardubice, Czech Republic. Not bad for a player who never played competitive ball hockey until 2014, when he was introduced to the sport by a few buddies that he had played ice hockey with before.
Born in Thompson, and raised in Minnedosa. Shaq has always been a gifted ice hockey player, having spent time with both the Yellowhead Chiefs of the MMHL, and with the Portage Terriers of the MJHL. He now has been a member the University of Manitoba Bison's hockey program for the past 3-seasons. His best year in the MJHL came in 2011-12 where he registered 60 points in only 38 games.
For Shaq this will mark his first time representing Canada in International competition. He first heard that he had made the team in the middle of October when he received a call from from the GM of Team Canada, Jeff Dzikowicz. Initially, he shared the news with some members of his family, and his girlfriend, before the final roster was named at the beginning of December. Shaq tells bdnmb.ca that the biggest adjustment from ice hockey to ball hockey is the incorporation of a floating blue line: meaning once the attacking team takes the ball over the defending teams blue line they have zone possession, and the blue line moves essentially to the red line creating a much bigger offensive zone
When asked what he was most looking forward to about representing his country Shaq said “I'm most looking forward to the atmosphere of the fans playing in the Czech Republic…I have heard from other players who have played at worlds before and they say attendance is very high at these events…. also the chance to play against the best ball hockey players in the world”.
Five other Manitobans also were named to the final roster including Dererk Gingera, Dustin Kelly, Remi Laurencelle, Kevin Marchuk and goalie Kyle Mcholm. One of team Canada's assistant coaches is Ray Cook who is also the Team Manitoba ball hockey head coach.
The tournament will be held from June 1st – 11th, 2017 in Pardubice, Czech Republic.
Shaq Merasty (right)