MONTAGUE — Noah Laybolt was terrified.
He was having problems breathing while participating at an evening sporting event at school.
His parents thought their 10-year-old son, who was diagnosed six years earlier with an anaphylaxic peanut allergy, had been exposed. He was rushed to the hospital, where he was treated, monitored for the night and released.
It happened two more times during the next few months, but a peanut was not the culprit.
An allergy specialist at the IWK Health Centre in Halifax diagnosed Laybolt with a food-associated, exercise-induced anaphylaxis.
“I can’t have a meal two hours before I exercise or else I will break out in hives, I will get all red and itchy and my lips will turn blue,” Laybolt said. “It was pretty tough at the start not knowing what it was.”
Breaded foods, like chicken nuggets or mozza sticks, are what trigger the reactions when consumed prior to exercising.
But the 14-year-old Laybolt hasn’t let it slow him down.
He is a goalie with the Kings County Kings, who are hosting the Irving Oil Challenge Cup Atlantic bantam AAA hockey championship starting today in Montague.
“I cannot wait for it. I’ve been counting down the days,” Laybolt said. “It’s going to be pretty exciting. I’ve played in some big tournaments, but nothing this big before.”
Laybolt has learned to live with the allergies and take the necessary precautions to continue playing hockey.
“He lives with them and doesn’t let them control him,” said his mother Lisa MacKinnon-Laybolt.
“He would play hockey 24/7, 365 days a year if he could. He has always been a high-level, competitive player. He has played in many elite tournaments in Canada and U.S.A. and doesn’t let anything stop him.
“He recently played in the Esso Challenge Cup in Halifax and was approached by two prep schools after his game. Instead of being nervous about the idea of having the opportunity to go away to school, he was thrilled, not one time did his allergies come into play.”
Laybolt, who was on bob skates before his first birthday and started playing hockey around three years old, remembers wondering if he may have to stop playing the sport he loves when the first reactions took place.
“At the start I did because we weren’t really sure if it was all foods or not,” he said.
“I don’t know if I would have been able to. It would be really difficult because I’m basically at the rink every night.”
What – The Atlantic bantam AAA hockey championship.
Where – Cavendish Farms Wellness Centre in Montague, which opened in 2009.
When – Today to Sunday.
Who – Mid-Isle Matrix (P.E.I.), Kings County Kings (hosts), St. John’s Ice Breakers (Newfoundland and Labrador) Halifax Accel Hawks (Nova Scotia) and the North West Bulls (New Brunswick).
Format – Round robin with the top teams playing in the championship game Sunday at 1 p.m. The third- and fourth-place teams play for bronze at 10 a.m. Sunday.
Today’s schedule –
2 p.m., N.S. vs. P.E.I.
4:30 p.m., N.L. vs. N.B.
7 p.m., opening ceremonies
7:30 p.m., Host vs. P.E.I.
Tournament alumni – Colin White, Thatcher Bell, Sidney Crosby, Randy Cameron, Mark Yetman, Cam Critchlow, Jake Allen, Luke Adam, Jordan Escott, Brad Yetman, Darcy Ashley, Morgan Ellis, Jason Cameron, Brent Andrews, Zack O’Brien and Ryan Tesink.
Online – www.irvingoilcup.com.