Get to know U19 National Team Linebacker Ben Hladik
Ben Hladik is a linebacker from Vernon, British Columbia who will represent Canada at the 2018 International in Arlington, Texas as a member of the National Under-18 team.
The linebacker began playing the sport in Grade 8.
“Our school weren’t actually going to have a team,” Hladik recalled. “They were only going to have a senior team.”
“The senior team folded so we ended up having a junior team and we actually almost made it to the provincial final that year.”
Hladik has suited up for the Vernon Secondary School Panthers of the British Columbia High School Football Association (BCHSFA) and University of British Columbia (UBC) Thunderbirds.
For the defensive standout, the opportunity to play in the Canada West Hardy Bowl game was the highlight of his career.
“It was a great experience and I never experienced anything like that, the energy of that game and the high level of competition,” reflected Hladik.
On the field, the linebacker tries to emulate some of the NFL greats such as Brian Urlacher and Ray Lewis.
Hladik credits his father as a source of support and strength throughout his life and career.
“He raised me and my brothers by himself most of our lives,” he elaborated. “He’s been a great inspiration to me.”
“He always taught me what to do.”
When the defensive standout got the call from National Junior Team Head Coach Steve Sumarah confirming he was selected to the Under-19 squad, he was thrilled to learn of the unexpected news. However, he is looking forward to playing at the 2018 International Bowl.
“It means a lot to wear the Canada jersey and represent the country,” Hladik said. “The opportunity to play against some of the other top players from the U.S is going to be a lot of fun.”
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