Story by Jeff Gard/Total Sports Quinte
Sam Thompson has enjoyed participating in a variety of sports over the years.
Hockey stands above the rest, but the 14-year-old has tested his skills in rep soccer in Belleville, rep softball in Springbrook, trampoline and rock climbing. He has played basketball and volleyball for school teams and considers sports to be a great social outlet.
“It’s just the activities and playing with my friends and being able to compete against other people. Explore as many sports as possible,” Thompson said.
Such was the case when he played rep soccer in Belleville as it provided Thompson an opportunity to compete with his school friends. “It was more for fun than competitiveness,” he remarked. “Hockey was more my main sport. I knew my brother and my dad always played hockey when they were kids so I think it was naturally something I
was going to do.” Thompson began playing hockey at age three in Stirling. He played for the Blues at the junior and senior Tyke levels as well novice when his team was the runner-up in for the Ontario Minor Hockey Association East championship.
For the past six years, he’s played with the Quinte Red Devils AAA organization, currently a member of the U15 team. After playing forward positions for most of his first three seasons in Stirling, Thompson made the switch to defence full-time when he joined the Red Devils at the U10 level (formerly minor atom). He had a taste of the position in novice the previous season. “It was interesting because in Stirling we weren’t all strong players so we didn’t have enough defence so I just did that for a couple games and then it started to go a lot better so I kept playing,” Thompson said. “I found that playing forward there was a lot more structure to where you have to be. It wasn’t that difficult to make the switch because I was so young when it happened.” Thompson found the defence position appealing as it provided him the opportunity to move the puck up the ice to the forwards and help set up scoring opportunities. “I think you control a lot more of the play. You’re more of a quarterback,” said Thompson, a fan of Colorado Avalanche defenceman Cale Makar for “his offensive prowess and his edges, the way he moves” on the ice.
“I would consider myself to be more offensive-minded, but not to the extent of scoring goals, but making plays so the team can score,” he added.
His personal goal right now is to get drafted in the 2023 Ontario Hockey League Priority Selection following his U16 season. Pressure, he said, is one of the biggest challenges faced playing at the AAA level. “You feel like you always have to do the right play or make the right move,” he said. “It’s difficult because I’m still growing up and I’m still developing.”
Finding success requires hard work on and off the ice. Between games and practices, there are also team training sessions and power skating workouts.
“It’s very surreal because you have to put a lot of work in, try to get a lot stronger and faster to be ready for that next step,” Thompson said.
The Quinte Red Devils offer AAA hockey from the U9 to U18 levels. To learn more, visit