Need For Speed On The Dirt And Ice
Blenheim’s Hope brothers – Kyle, Brett, and Shawn – and fellow Blenheim resident Dylan Bonner have been satisfying their need for speed on the dirt and ice in recent years, all playing various levels of competitive hockey, and racing in the offseason at South Buxton Raceway.
“The thing I love about both sports is that there is unpredictability in both and that anything can happen,” said Brett Hope, who drives in the Mini-Mods division at South Buxton, and plays NCAA hockey for the Buffalo State Bengals. “As well, the adrenaline and excitement you get when you make a big pass or score a big goal is like nothing else.”
“I think both sports have a lot of thrill and excitement and they are high speed and quick reacting sports,” added Kyle Hope, who also drives Mini-Mods, and recently finished his final OHL season with the Owen Sound Attack before signing a professional hockey contract with the Lake Erie Monsters of the American Hockey League.
Although you wouldn’t immediately think being good at driving a racecar would benefit hockey skills, or vice versa, there are more similarities than one might think.“Quick thinking is huge in both sports,” explains Brett Hope. “In hockey you have to make a play in a split second or else it isn’t there anymore, just like racing if you see a hole you have to go because a second later it will be gone.”
“I think timing and not being afraid are both big parts of both sports,” added Dylan Bonner, who drives in the Bombers division, and just completed his final season of Junior hockey with the Blenheim Blades. “Going into the corner to get the puck against a bigger opponent and going sideways through the corner are both ways to learn not to be afraid and timing a pass in both sports is a challenge.”
“They benefit each other with coordination, as well as helping you time going into a corner high on the track or low, or when you’re going into a corner against a defender,” says Shawn Hope, who played last season with the Wheatley Sharks of the Great Lakes Junior C hockey league.
According to Kyle Hope, the most accomplished hockey player of the group, it’s not just the on ice, and on track timing and skills that transfer; it’s also the preparation, confidence, and mental side of the sports that draw comparisons.
“I think from the preparation side they are similar, and handling your nerves and being confident in yourself and your decisions,” said Kyle Hope, who is known for playing a fearless style of hockey.
For each athlete, they chose racing because their family members had raced at South Buxton and Delaware Raceway’s in the past, and of course, because they had a desire to go fast.
“I always had a need for speed,” said Brett Hope, who was named an assistant captain of his Buffalo State team this season.
Whether they’re looking across the face-off circle at an opponent, or through their car window at another driver, the four Blenheim racers, and hockey players, think it’s exciting to have other athletes in the same position, competing in multiple sports throughout the year.
“I think it is awesome having fellow hockey players and race car drivers,” said Shawn Hope. Dylan Bonner and I played on the same hockey team for several years with the Blenheim Blades.”
“It’s cool to see that many other people with the same interests,” says Bonner, who was the bombers division points champion at South Buxton in 2013. “It shows how alike the two sports really are.”
Just because the four multi-sport athletes are friends off the ice, and away from the track, it doesn’t mean they aren’t there to compete, drive fast, and win as Bonner and Shawn Hope race in the same division, as do Brett and Kyle Hope.
“We all have the same background and live within a few kilometres of each other and it makes it a lot of fun having people you know out there to race against and help,” says Brett Hope of his brothers and Bonner. “I love racing door to door with these guys because you know it will be clean racing, but they aren’t going to let you go by because of course, we all want bragging rights.”