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Coach says 8-year-old Junior Hurricane is a natural on the ice

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When the Carolina Hurricanes made their Stanley Cup run, Braxton Powers caught the hockey bug at just 2 years old. When the Carolina Hurricanes made their Stanley Cup run, Braxton Powers caught the hockey bug at just 2 years old.
RALEIGH, N.C. -

Some would say hockey is in 8-year-old Braxton Powers' blood.

"I saw some pictures of my dad when he used to play for the IceCaps, and I thought I'd try it," said Braxton, a member of the Junior Hurricanes

Braxton's father, Jimmy Powers, played five years for the Raleigh IceCaps, ending his career as the team's third leading scorer all time. Yet, despite his dad playing professionally, it took a certain event to sway young Braxton to the sport.

"He got the Hurricanes-itch back in the day when the [Stanley] Cup came," Powers recalled. "He got Cup crazy at 2 years old -- we got a nice picture of him with the Cup.

And from that moment on, Braxton was hooked. Baseball and golf -- two sports he excels at -- eere pushed aside and hockey became his passion.

Lincoln Flagg coached the elder Powers as well as NHL players Bill Guerin, Ron Hainsey and Mike Komisarek; he now coaches Braxton and says the 8-year-old is a natural.

"Some of those genes have rubbed off on Braxton," Flagg said. "He is just a natural talent -- very gifted -- he lives the game."

And that natural talent shows.

Hours upon hours of ice time is not enough for an elite player. Off ice drills help augment a young player's development, and those sessions are becoming more and more common.

"They [practice] on their off nights," Powers said. "It's competitive now. The edge is the edge, and these are the things that help them keep the edge."

On-ice work, off-ice drills, homework, time with friends: it seems like a lot to heap upon an 8-year-old boy. But Braxton is unfazed by the demands. He's got a plan.

"I just think about working on my game to get better so that I can live my dream -- being on an NHL team," Braxton said.

His dad knows about those dreams. He had them as well.

"Dream the dream," Powers said. "Every kid, let them have that.

"I had that one time when a teacher told me that would never happen, so it was a push for me. I said, ‘We'll see.'"

Powers fell one step short of reaching that dream as he climbed the ladder through his minor league career. His former coach thinks Braxton could one day possibly fulfill his dream.

"I think Braxton has some big shoes to fill, but I wouldn't put it by him by watching him today," Flagg said.  

Todd Gibson

Known as "Gibby" around the station, Todd excels at taking viewers beyond who won or who lost. He hosts "Friday Night Blitz," a showcase of varsity football action in our area. If you have a cool sports story, tell Gibby! More>>

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