“Challenges are what makes life interesting. Overcoming them is what makes them meaningful”
- Joshua J. Marine
Meet Brody Daigneau, a para hockey player who proves hockey is more than just a game, and adversity builds character.
Brody is a Grade 9 student with cerebral palsy who participates in the Hockey Canada Skills Academy at Cardinal Carter Secondary School in Leamington, Ont. The 14-year-old is no rookie when it comes to para hockey; he has been playing for eight years, currently with the Windsor Ice Bullets.
Brody is eager to continue learning and developing his hockey sense and he could not think of a better way to do exactly than by joining the HCSA.
“I saw it as a way to try and improve,” he says. “The goal is to make it far in this sport. I get on the ice three times a week, plus once a week with [the Ice Bullets].
“It’s interesting. It’s hockey. It’s a sport instead of doing a subject. You get up in the morning, go to the rink, get some cardio on the ice, work on some skills instead of being in a classroom. I’m actually hoping this semester slows down a little bit because I don’t want it to end.”
There are few better ambassadors for the HCSA program than Brody; he is a unique athlete who is faced with a challenge. His mild case of cerebral palsy affects his legs and the left side of his body. He explains it as “just a part of developing muscle memory.”
He has a remarkable mindset when it comes to not only dealing with his disability, but excelling with it.
“At the end of the day, I just have to accept it,” Brody says. “I’m not going to be able to change anything, so I just have to make the best out of it.”
Brody does not let cerebral palsy define him, as he has found a way to continue reaching personal goals through hockey. Not only does Brody spend his time training on the ice, he also volunteers to help coach the Tecumseh Minor Bantam Rangers.
There are many are inspired by Brody, but who does he look to to find inspiration? He is quick to reference Paralympic gold medallist Ray Grassi, national women’s para hockey team member Ashley Goure and Team Canada goaltender Corbin Watson, who is a Cardinal Carter alumnus.
Brody has had the opportunity to skate with all three, taking the opportunity to learn from those who have succeeded while experiencing similar challenges.