03/27/2015 03:09 EDT | Updated 05/27/2015 05:59 EDT

Cree hockey player wins rookie of the year in Quebec league

Niko Trapper, a Cree hockey player for the Ambassadeurs de Chibougamau, was named Rookie of the Year this spring in the Bantam CC division in Saguenay Lac St-Jean, Que.

Trapper was nominated by his team coaches, and voted top rookie by a league committee.

"I was kinda happy," said the 14-year-old Mistissini teen, on winning the honour. 

Trapper learned to play hockey later than other players his calibre, and said now he's "just trying my hardest and trying to get farther."

As a young boy in Mistissini, he spent time in Quebec's child hockey development program — Méthode d'Apprentissage de Hockey sur Glace — but his learning was cut short when his father died. 

His family then moved to Chibougamau, and Trapper had to wait until he was nine to sign up for hockey again. He joined a Novice "A" team and quickly progressed from there. 

Trapper said he is thankful he gets to live with his family while playing hockey for the Ambassadeurs. He says he can't name his "No.1 fan" because his mother, brothers and cousins are all so encouraging, even if they can't always afford to travel to his away games. 

"They're always there, still, to support me," he said. "They will always be important for me." 

A Secondary I student at the École Porte du Nord in Chibougamau, Trapper admits he doesn't enjoy school much —​ but he looks forward to playing sports every day. 

"When you play hockey, just try your hardest," he said. "I'm thanking everyone for supporting me."

The league awards were presented at a Gala in early March.