Suffering concussion, food poisoning and scarlet fever at three successive major tournaments would put most people off playing sport again, but that hasn’t stopped one young keen ice hockey player.
Callum Buglass, 12, of Mendip Road, Llanrumney, caught scarlet fever while playing for England recently in the 50th Quebec International Pee-Wee ice hockey tournament in Canada.
Callum, who usually plays for the Cardiff Devils under-14s, was out of action for the last two days of the tournament, which attracts around 2,300 young hockey players from 16 countries around the world. More than 200,000 spectators were expected to have watched the 10-day competition which took place between February 11-22.
Callum, whose favourite subject is sport at Llanrumney High School, has had a history of bad luck over the last few tournaments. When representing England at a hockey competition in Holland last March, he got concussion after hitting his head during a match. He went to hospital for three days and missed the rest of the four-day series of matches.
The following regional conference in Hull last May ended with Callum suffering from food poisoning. That time, Callum missed out on representing the South West in the last day of the weekend finals, including the key deciding match which would have given them a shot at the winning title. They drew 1-1 in the decider, and the team ended up coming third overall, by which time Callum was already on his way back to Wales nursing an upset stomach.
“Callum complained: ‘Why is it always me,’” said father Scott Buglass, who runs Crwys Shoe Repairs on Crwys Road, Cathays.
This is Callum’s fifth season of ice hockey since he started playing at seven-years-old. By the age of nine, he was captain of his team.
His commitment has seen Callum travel to Sheffield every weekend for training with the England squad as well as regular Cardiff Devils’ sessions.
The dedicated player was back on the ice on the following Sunday’s match where Cardiff under-14s played Bracknell, despite being weak from scarlet fever after losing a stone in weight and still on antibiotics.
“I started watching ice hockey when I was younger, and my grandfather asked if I wanted to try it for my birthday, so I did,” said Callum, whose grandfather Bill Buglass is a Cardiff Devils fan. “What I love most about ice hockey is having fun and skating around.”
Ice hockey is Callum’s favourite sport, which he plays all year round by ice skating and shooting nets in the summer.
“He never misses a Cardiff Devils match,” said dad Scott, who went to Canada with Callum along with mum Tracey, sister Amy, 9, and grandfather Bill. “When he’s not playing ice hockey, he’s watching it. He always had a passion for watching it from a young age, and I think he pays attention to how people skate and their techniques, and then he copies it. He’s very good at moving into the spaces.”
While staying in Quebec City, where it reached temperatures of -15C, Callum got to try out different rinks and fell in love with the country.
“He would go back to Canada tomorrow if he could,” said his dad. “He hopes to become a professional hockey player and one day move to Canada.
“Callum could make it as a British player but it’s harder to make it professionally in the UK. Unless you’re one of the top British players, you would need a second job because it won’t pay enough.”
For Callum, becoming a top ice hockey player is his ultimate goal.
“I can’t imagine doing anything else,” he said.
His next big tournament will see Callum representing the South West in Hull over the Bank Holiday weekend between May 2-4. Needless to say, he’s hoping it will be injury-free this time.
This article appeared in the South Wales Echo on 11 March 2009.