St. Albert product Max Hartman got to check off an item on his bucket last week. The 17-year-old baseball player made his international debut with the Canadian National Junior Team last week as he donned the maple leaf jersey in a friendship series against Team USA in Florida. The exhibition event consisted of seven games between the two teams.
Canada was only able to steal away one win from the Americans in the series, along with one tie, but for Hartman, it wasn’t about whether they won or lost.
“It was amazing, just running out with ‘Canada’ across your chest and being able to represent everyone in the country and know that all of Canada will be behind you,” said Hartman. “It was an unbelievable feeling just to take it all in for a second ... it was one of the coolest opportunities that I’ve ever gotten.”
Hartman wasn’t only representing his country, but his province as well. Out of the entire 30-man roster, he was the lone Albertan to make the team.
It has been a long road to get to this point for Hartman. He was born and raised in St. Albert for the first 15 years of his life. He cut his teeth with the St. Albert Cardinals in his youth before moving to Okotoks to further his baseball career.
He said his time spent with the Cardinals taught him some valuable lessons and that he wouldn’t be in this position without them.
“Every coach that I met [in St. Albert] was awesome and were really great working with kids,” said Hartman. “Kurtus Millar, the president of St. Albert Minor Baseball, has been a really big part of my baseball journey ... he was supportive when I went to Okotoks and whenever I come back to St. Albert invites me out, comes to train with me, and lets me coach the younger guys.
“It is just so awesome to still be embraced by the community because there really is a family at St. Albert Minor Baseball.”
His parents, Aileen and Brian Hartman, are over the moon with the success of their son. They, like many other parents across the country, have put in a lot of work to ensure Max had the best opportunity to succeed at every level.
Aileen said it is so rewarding to see Max achieve his dreams.
“My husband and I are very, very proud of Max,” said Aileen. “All the work we’ve done for Max has definitely paid off, if you can say that.”
Brian said all the credit goes to Max’s hard work through the years.
“It shows what hard work and dedication can do,” said Brian. “Max deserves what he has achieved so far, he’s worked really hard.”
For now, Hartman will continue to play for the junior team in a variety of different events and tournaments over the next year. He will continue to play for his club team in Okotoks this season and is planning to sign a letter of intent for Washington State this fall where he will begin playing in 2022.
Hartman said he is excited to take the next step and is honoured to become a role model for younger baseball players in St. Albert.
“It’s an unbelievable feeling to go back [to St. Albert] and have those people know who I am,” said Hartman. “Those people are a part of the reason why I am here because the support I’ve gotten from that community is amazing.”