Player: Zach Sill
Hometown: Brookfield, Nova Scotia
Population: 1,200 (according to Brookfield's website)
Zach Sill and his older brother had a Tom Sawyer-like childhood, with one difference. Instead of roaming the southern woods and the Mississippi River, Sill and his brother explored the woods, farms and frozen marshes of Nova Scotia. It was a great place for a pair of ambitious brothers to grow up. With seemingly endless acres of woods and fields, the Sill brothers always found something to do. Even in the winter, when snow and ice limited their room to roam, Sill's parents had a special technique to tire out the energetic brothers.
What did you do for fun in Brookfield? We were always outside in the woods either fishing or building tree forts. I grew up with my brother and neighbors from up the hill. We were always back in the woods doing stuff that young boys would do – getting muddy and running around. In the summertime we were never inside, we'd either be running around the woods or the farms. It was a good place to grow up.
Did you have any summer jobs? There's a lot of agriculture there – dairy farms and blueberry fields. My uncle had a dairy farm with 26 cows, and I worked on it when I was growing up. We did a lot of haying and I used to ride on the wagon and stack the square bales.
Do most people work on farms in Brookfield? There's a lot, but there's also a cement plant that employs a lot of people and a lumber yard.
Are there any similarities to this area? Brookfield is really small, so not really. But Truro, which is the nearest town, is a lot like here. There's a decent-size downtown and it's a working class type of town, like here.
Did your family have to travel to Truro to go shopping? Yes. It's a half-hour away and that's where the grocery store, mall, restaurants and everything is. In Brookfield, we had a bakery, café, a drug store and a Tim Horton's.
Anything unique to the area? There's a point, in the town of Stewiacke, about 15 minutes away, that's the halfway point between the Equator and the North Pole. That's the claim to fame.
What are the winters like in Brookfield? It's a really wet winter with a chill that gets into your bones real quick. But there were still things to do. My parents owned a lot of land and there was a huge marsh that would flood and freeze. We'd play hockey there and on a lake that was huge. You could shoot the puck as hard as you could and it wouldn't reach the other end. My parents would take us out there when we were kids to tire us out.
Would you like to return to Brookfield after your playing days are over? For sure. I can't really picture myself not going back. I love it there. It's home. I want it to be my home for the rest of my life.
-- Tom Venesky