Make no mistake - there are still plenty of irons in the fire for Adam Bertrand, athletically speaking. And though he is not shy about stating his current clear preference for hockey, that's not to say that things might not change over the next four to five years.
Given the natural ability that fuels his multi-sport success, this is likely a good thing. A "AAA" hockey talent equipped with the versatility to play either forward or defense, the grade 8 student at Northeastern Elementary School has been a familiar face at a wide variety of school tournaments.
Blessed with height that dwarfs the vast majority of his teammates and opponents, Bertrand had a natural attraction to coaches. "Mr B (Dale Beausoleil) hunted me down and told me that I had to play volleyball, and that's how I got started," recalled the life-long Garson resident with a laugh.
Like most teens in his position, there is an adjustment period that comes with the territory of towering above the rank and file. "Two years ago, I had a big growth spurt," he said. "I was more un-coordinated. All of a sudden, you're really tall, and you don't feel co-ordinated and normal in your body."
In the eyes of most sports observers, however, that phase passed quickly, as the cross-benefits of his varied involvement paid dividends. "You do different drills for foot speed, and speed in general, with volleyball and basketball," noted Bertrand.
"It makes you quicker on the ice, and more agile." Though he created an immediate impact on both of the school court sports, it was likely at the track where the scope of his all-around athleticism really came to light.
Bertrand finished first in three of the five events (long jump, shot put, 800m) in blowing away the field in the boys pentathlon last June at Laurentian University, finishing almost 600 points ahead of Jake Venedam of Princess Anne.
"Track came more natural, because I've always done a lot of running and stuff, in training for hockey." With his OHL draft year only two seasons away, one can understand the increased focus that Bertrand is devoting to his progress on the ice.
Thankfully, there is a well-grounded perspective. "If it's hockey, hockey, hockey, you need a break with a sport that can be just for fun, not so serious," he said. "Basketball is a lot of fun. At practices, we always play games and such. And there are other guys there who are competitive basketball players."
Along with the mainstream sports, Bertrand has suited up with the Cougars in floor hockey competitions, along with taking to the trails during cross-country season. Not to mention the fact that he is extremely comfortable in the water, swimming frequently at camp.
That said, hockey is not likely to be soon toppled for the top ranking of his sporting favourites. It's in his blood. "My dad played hockey when he was growing up, and most people in my family did," Bertrand stated.
Thankfully, he has not eliminated all the rest. At least not yet.
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