Josh Harkins is proof positive that a late start, in any given sport, does not really mean all that much in the end. Despite not lacing up the skates until three to four years later than many Valley East boys, Harkins progressed to the point of being named the Most Valuable Player in the SDSSAA league last year.
"I started hockey at eight," said Harkins. "One of my neighbours starting playing, and we used to do everything together. At one point, just a few years into hockey, I remember I wanted to quit for some reason and just play soccer all year long."
"My dad talked me out of it," Harkins added. "I'm not too upset by that." Truth is the 18 year old grade 12 student has always loved his involvement with sports, save perhaps one elementary school venture.
"I played basketball in grade eight at St Thérèse and that was a one-time thing," Harkins said with a smile. "I'm pretty happy playing basically almost any sport, but basketball wasn't it."
Opting to transfer over to the english catholic board (SCDSB) with his move to Bishop Carter, Harkins is leaving with no regrets five years later. "It's a smaller school, there are less people trying out for teams than say a school like Lockerby with 1000 students," he noted.
"There's a little more opportunity to do multiple sports." It wasn't just the numbers that set the BAC experience apart from other sporting forays for the eldest of two children in the family.
"I find there's a lot more pride playing for your high school team," he said. "You grow rivalries, you want to beat the other schools in your district." That sentiment would be heavily tapped when an undermanned Gators boys hockey team went toe to toe with the powerhouse St Charles College Cardinals in the SDSSAA semi-finals.
"We knew going into that series that we were not favoured," Harkins stated. "As much as it sucked to lose guys at Christmas, we knew that we had to keep things basic, make it easy on ourselves, not tire ourselves out."
"It was going to have to be a defensive game," he added. "We weren't going to outscore St Charles with ten skaters." After taking the Cardinals to overtime in game one, the Bishop Carter crew threw everything at the eventual city champs, dropping a pair of closely-matched encounters.
"It's hard to say it's a success, because we didn't win, but we weren't too disapointed about how the results came out against St Charles." Harkins would close out his career at Bishop Carter by capturing both the SDSSAA & NOSSA boys doubles tennis championship for a third straight year, earning him yet another trip to OFSAA, this time alongside new partner Thomas Lambert.
His impressive sporting resume was enough to earn Harkins a berth as one of three finalists for the coveted House Of Kin Male High School Athlete of the Year award. Come September, the lifelong Sudbury native will make the move to Laurentian University, enrolled in the Sports Psychology program.
Memories of his days at Bishop Carter, however, will never stray too far away.
Josh Harkins, Hockey & Tennis
"I find there's a lot more pride playing for your high school team... You grow rivalries, you want to beat the other schools in your district."