Growing up as the youngest of four sons in Tsawwassen, BC, defenceman Spencer Humphries fell in love with the sport of hockey as he was dragged to every one of his brother’s games and practices.
He remembers fondly the 6 a.m. practices, where kids skate for an hour before heading off to school for the day.
“I would be up before those guys because I was so excited to watch them practice at 6 in the morning,” reminisced Humphries. “Then when it became my turn, I hated it and I would basically get dressed and go to bed in my gear just so I could save five more minutes of sleep.”
And then there was street hockey, where he wasn’t always invited to join in with his older brothers.
“I could only play if they didn’t have a goalie,” he said. “They would use an actual puck and I wouldn’t have very good gear so I would come back inside with welts. It was full contact but just against me so all my buddies and brothers would absolutely run me over. But it’s good.”
Oh, but how things come full circle for the now 20-year-old.
“I’m the only one playing hockey so they get to come watch me play so it’s funny how it turned out,” he explained.
Humphries and the rest of the Hitmen (31-13-1-3) will take on the Brandon Wheat Kings in a Sunday matinee affair at 4 p.m. as the Scotiabank Saddledome will be full of minor hockey players to celebrate Cardel Homes Minor Hockey Night.
Hitmen have a perfect record against Brandon so far this season, taking all three matchups by a combined scored of 21-6. In their last game, seven different Hitmen found the back of the net on their way to a 7-2 victory.
Brandon is situated in the basement of the Eastern Conference, with a record of 18-28-2-2. In the middle of a youth movement, the Wheat Kings have dealt away veterans like Calgary Flames prospect Michael Ferland, leading scorer Alessio Bertaggia, and defender Ayrton Nikkel at the trade deadline.
Now, they feature 2013 NHL draft prospects Ryan Pulock and Eric Roy, as well as 16-year-old rookie forward Jayce Hawryluk.
It’ll be the last time the Hitmen are on home ice for about three weeks. After Sunday’s game, they head on a road trip through Saskatchewan and then the United States. The next home game will be on Feb. 16 when the Victoria Royals make their second appearance this year at the Scotiabank Saddledome.