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Deer Lake's Thomas Chaulk focused on making his last shot count

Thomas Chaulk has one last shot at earning a National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) hockey scholarship. He hopes to make it happen with a great year with the Kasson Vipers of the United States Premier Hockey League.
Thomas Chaulk has one last shot at earning a National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) hockey scholarship. He hopes to make it happen with a great year with the Kasson Vipers of the United States Premier Hockey League. - Contributed

Thomas Chaulk figures he has one more shot at making his dream come to fruition.

He is determined to give the right people a reason to take notice at this critical stage.

After all, Chaulk is chasing something dear to his heart.

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He has bounced around for the past four years, playing in four different programs in both Canada and the United States, in an effort to earn a scholarship with a National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) school.

The 20-year-old native of Deer Lake began his journey four years ago at the Ontario Hockey Academy and this year he’s playing for a new team  — the Kassen Vipers — in the United States Premier Hockey League.

Chaulk almost made his way back to Canada earlier this year when he attended training camp for the Opaskwayak Cree Nation Blizzard of the Manitoba Junior A Hockey League, but he was cut from that squad on the final day of training camp.

A former teammate of his with the Tri-City Hawks, the team Chaulk played for last year, talked to the coach of the Vipers about Chaulk being available and eventually a deal was struck.

He knows this is his last shot at earning a scholarship, and what it is at stake, and feels good about the challenge.

“I guess I just have to put my money where my mouth is,” Chaulk said Thursday afternoon. “It’s not one of those things where I can’t lay an egg. I have to show up every day and I have to continue putting in the work. You can’t quit and you never know who is watching you.”

A slight forward at five-foot-eight, 170 pounds, Chaulk is enjoying life as a Viper, with the team in the middle of the standings. He takes pride in the team showing confidence in him by naming him the team’s captain, which is a first for the franchise.

“It is a pretty good feeling, I must say, to be honest with you,” he said. “I’m hoping to lead the guys to a championship and hopefully lead myself to a scholarship.”

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