Canada comes calling for local schoolboy

VICTORIOUS: Ryan Martinoli has been scouted by a Canadian hockey academy and leaves at the end of August. Photo supplied.

He’s a New Zealand ice hockey player with a dream to get into the National Hockey League, and now he’s one step closer to achieving that.

Pakuranga College student Ryan Martinoli has been offered a two-year scholarship to attend the prestigious Ontario Hockey Academy and is set to leave at the end of August.

The talented teenager has played ice hockey for more than seven years, and was one of 20 Kiwis chosen to travel to Taiwan in March to compete in the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) U18 Ice Hockey World Championships.

Unfortunately, the New Zealand team did not qualify for the next round, but upon his return from the competition, the 16-year-old had an very special message waiting for him on Facebook.

He had been contacted by a Canadian scout who was watching the championships online.

“The scout approached me on Facebook after the World Cup [offering me a place]. I read it and replied, “as soon as I get home, I’ll ask my parents!

“I’m very excited. I’m chasing my dream… [August] can’t come soon enough.”

Despite being diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, the year 12 student doesn’t allow it to prevent him from achieving his goals, instead choosing to pave the way forward by looking on the bright side.

Ryan told the Times he sees his diabetes as an advantage that’s helped him to form a strong work ethic and a positive attitude.

“I see [the diabetes] more as an advantage because I have to work harder than the other guys.

“Not everything has to be a disadvantage.”