Teen with prosthetic leg takes ice with Ottawa 67's
Gabe Ferron-Bouius, 14, was invited to practice with the OHL club on Tuesday
Having a prosthetic leg hasn't kept 14-year-old goalie Gabe Ferron-Bouius from pursuing his hockey dreams.
Ferron-Bouius, who was born with fibular hemimelia — a deformity caused by the absence of part or all of the fibular bone — got the chance last week to practise with the Ottawa 67's.
Part of his leg was amputated weeks after he was born and he has used prosthetic ever since.
"I've had to adapt certain moves and think about things a little bit differently in terms of moving in the net," he said. "But it hasn't really set me back that much, and I'm able to complete at the highest level with all of my friends."
Besides playing goaltender for the Cumberland Bantam AA Grads, he also plays rugby and ultimate Frisbee competitively.
It was Ferron-Bouius's determination that caught the eye of Andre Tourigny, head coach of the Ontario Hockey League club.
When Tourigny heard of Ferron-Bouius's story, he invited him out to practise with the 67's.
"Just to hear about his experience in life, his approach and the way he battles, and [the fact] he never backed down from anything — that's a super example of determination."
'It shows you the next level'
It has always been a goal of Ferron-Bouius to make it to the Ontario Hockey League level.
"It'd be a lot of fun," he said. "It's a goal of lots of people, and it takes lots of hard work to get there."
Practicing with the 67's gave him a preview of what it will take to make it to the OHL.
"It's amazing. They shoot faster, they skate faster. Everything is done at 120 miles an hour," he said.
"I'll put in the effort and see what happens."
50 for 50 campaign
The club invited Ferron-Bouius to stop a few shots as part of their 50 for 50 campaign: a promise to perform 50 acts of kindness to mark their 50th season.
After the practice, Ferron-Bouius said he thought he was able to hold his own.
"I saved a couple pucks. They definitely scored quite a few as well, but that's to be expected," he said.
The team also gave Ferron-Bouius a hockey stick signed by the whole team.
"It's hanging in my room," he said.