Dylan Montgomery, who has been playing hockey since he was 8 years old, got the experience of a lifetime last year when he joined Wanderers Australia for a tour of North America.
The Naracoorte-based teenager played hockey in Vancouver, West Vancouver, and Los Angeles.
While grass hockey isn’t commonly associated with North America, Dylan explained that Canada already has a hockey culture, with some choosing to play either grass or ice.
And in Los Angeles, hockey is catching on in Tinsel Town.
As well as playing tournaments against rival teams, there was the opportunity through Wanderers Australia to also take in some of the sights.
Some of the extracurricular activities that Dylan got to experience were seeing Granville Island, skiing on Grouse Mountain, a tour of Hollywood, and even Disneyland.
“It was different, but a good different,” Dylan said of the experience in comparison to his only other overseas trip, a family holiday to Bali.
But as well as being able to represent Australia against international teams, the highlight was the friends that Dylan made along the way. The Wanderers Australia 2018 Junior Hockey Tour Canada/USA featured male and female players from Victoria, Western Australia, and a few from South Australia, but most of the players were from New South Wales and Queensland.
There must be something about the New South Wales hockey culture, as Dylan has thought about playing for their state league.
Hockey runs in the Montgomery family, with Dylan’s father Alistair and mother Kathryn being players, as well as his little sister Lauren. Lauren has put her hand up to go on a Wanderers Australia tour as well, heading off to Europe this year.
“We’re very proud,” Alistair said of Dylan’s overseas tour. “It was out of Dylan’s comfort zone, but it was something that he wanted to do, and we backed him all the way.
“We’re very proud of what he’s achieved and got out of it.
“It’s certainly not something that I would have thought of doing at 17 years old.”
Dylan had first heard of Wanderers Australia when he was 14, with a friend speaking about the experience that he’d had.
The 2018 junior hockey tour was from December 1 to December 18, but Wanderers Australia runs school and group tours all year round, in many different countries, with many different sporting experiences available.
Touring sports include cricket, netball, hockey, AFL, and soccer.
For more information on Wanderers Australia tours visit: http://wanderersaustralia.com.au/