Most years around this time, Kindersley native and Jr. Klippers defenseman Ethan Hilbig would be lacing up his cleats on the ball diamond.

His glove will be waiting for him when he gets back, as he has a job to finish out east with Team Saskatchewan at the National Aboriginal Hockey Championships in Membertou, Nova Scotia. Hilbig captained his team to a 4-0 opening round record, as they had the day off today, ahead of the semi-final round beginning tomorrow.

With the day off, West Central Online reached out to Hilbig as he talked about the experience so far. 

"I've never been out here. Been to Ontario once, but it's beautiful up here, and the hockey's been good to," said Hilbig, who's trip to Ontario was for sports, but not hockey, "I flew to Oshawa for ball a couple of years ago, but this is my first time for hockey going anywhere."

Hilbig and his Metis heritage from his mothers side is what qualified him for the tournament, but it was a connection from his father that got him the chance to compete for a spot.

"One of the assistant coaches called me, said him and my dad know each other, so he invited me out to their Top 40 camp."

From there he made the team, and clearly impressed enough to be named team captain.

"Throughout the last month I guess we have had seven or so practices, and before we flew out, they announced I was going to be captain so that was pretty cool."

He was pumped when he found out about the news, and is honoured to have such a great team and coaching staff to go into battle with for the tournament. He is also having fun playing with some opponents, and teammates, from his time coming up playing hockey in Saskatchewan.

"I played with Carter Cormier, and then two years with Rhett Dekowny in Swift, and we were supposed to play together in Warman this year. Same with Mason Bueckert and Kaden Johns. I was supposed to play with them before I got called up to the Klippers, but no lots of guys have played together in Battleford and stuff before and it's my first time with them so its been good."

The tournament will continue tomorrow for Hilbig and Team Saskatchewan as they face off against an opponent they have already beaten, though it is yet to be determined with games still yet to be played ahead of the semi-final. Perhaps they will use the time to support the Team Saskatchewan girls also at the tournament, as the spring hockey currently on out east wraps up Saturday.