When Carey Terrance, Jr., arrived home to Akwesasne after winning gold at the 2023 IIHF World Under-18 Hockey Championship with the Erie Otters earlier this year, the whole community threw a parade and lined the streets to celebrate.
So who knows what they’ll do now that the 18-year-old centre has been drafted into the National Hockey League (NHL) by the Anaheim Ducks at last Thursday’s entry draft in Nashville, where he was picked 59th overall in the second round.
“I don’t think it quite got through my mind right away. I was trying to focus on hugging my parents and my sisters and going down to their table,” Terrance said. “I’m so grateful they called my name, and now that I’m here it’s kind of settled in now, but it’s an unreal feeling.”
Back home in Akwesasne, the community came out in droves to the Travis Solomon Arena, where Terrance played lacrosse and skated in winter, for an outdoor watch party.
“I’ve seen a couple of videos of when I got drafted of everyone cheering in support, and it’s been unreal from home. I can’t thank everyone enough,” Terrance said. “I’ve been away since I got drafted, so I’m excited to see everyone when I get home.”
Sport has been an important part of Terrance’s identity throughout the years. He wants other kids to see what they can achieve if they apply themselves to what they’re passionate about – be it sports or any other interest.
“It’s about staying busy. Don’t just sit in your room. That’s my advice – stay busy,” he said. “I’ve been to a lot of boys’ and girls’ clubs and seen all the children and played hockey with them and shared my story, my journey, of how I got here. So yeah, it’s just about being a role model for anything that the kids want to do.”
Terrance has a need for speed on the ice, but he’s also known for being a well-rounded player.
“I’m a really versatile player, I can play in all areas. And with me comes a lot of speed, and I think that’s what you need to play in the NHL right now,” Terrance said. “If a scout is looking, they can tick off speed-skating straight away because that’s my biggest attribute … and I’m not afraid to get to dirty areas.”
Currently, Terrance is at development camp in Anaheim, where he touched down three days after the draft.
“It’s beautiful, obviously, and it feels like I’m on a little vacation right now,” Terrance laughed. “I’m excited to see where it goes. I couldn’t ask for anything else.”
For other Indigenous hockey players, Terrance hopes that his achievements can prove that they’re also capable of making it to the big leagues.
“I’m not afraid to say that I’m Mohawk, and that I’m from Akwesasne, I love sharing that information, I love talking about that stuff,” Terrance said, adding that he hopes younger Indigenous players will feel they can come and speak to him.
“That’s my drive right now is showing the younger generation that it is possible, and you guys can do it.”
After development camp, Terrance will head to the World Junior Camp in Plymouth Michigan in August, and he will return to Ontario for the Erie Otters’ next season.
Jayson Shaugabay, a member of the White Earth Nation, was drafted in the fourth round by the Tampa Bay Lightning.
This article was originally published in print on Friday, July 6, in issue 32.27 of The Eastern Door.