Familial Ties Inspire Bent Further In The Game

by Joshua Rendle

Photo: Gord Rufh

VICTORIA, BC (June 21, 2018) - Hockey bloodlines are something Canadian sports fans know and recognize immediately. The Sutter family, The Courtnall brothers or how about Tie Domi and son Max Domi. Each one recognizable to even the casual Canadian sport fan. For football fans, if the surname Bent sounds familiar that’s because it probably is. Highlanders forward Cory Bent has a football bloodline as strong and as long as many of hockey’s greatest.

The English native comes from a prolific line of footballers with his dad, Junior Bent, having carved out a solid career in the footballing world of England, while his relative Darren Bent was most prolific with English Premier League clubs Tottenham Hotspurs, Sunderland and Aston Villa from 2007 - 2015.

Junior Bent had an impressive fourteen year playing career between 1987 through to 2001. He started off with Huddersfield Town playing 36 times while notching six goals. Between 1990 and 1997 Bent played for Bristol City in England’s second tier, the Football League Second Division at the time. He had 183 appearances for Bristol before playing for Blackpool and reaching over 100 appearances with the club.

Relative Darren Bent was capped by the England national team 16 times, while playing nearly 500 professional matches over the course of his career in the English Premier League and is now a Free Agent. 

"I think he'd love it here! Great weather, good football and just an all round great place to be able to continue his trade, I'm not sure if we could offer him enough money though," joked Cory Bent.

Bent, following in his family’s footsteps, signed with Preston North End of the Championship at the age of nine and stayed there until the age of fourteen.

“It was a learning curve for me as I was a late developer, so as the years went on, a lot of people made early judgements as to whether I’d be able to compete at a higher level, and ultimately it was decided by the club that it would be too difficult for me to go past that point,” commented Bent. “I am grateful for my time there as they were able to give me a solid foundation of knowledge and technical abilities that I carry forward to this day and use on a day to day basis.”

Released at fourteen, Bent's path looked inevitably harder. “After being released, I struggled with my motivation to play the game and it affected a lot of other aspects in my life, it was tough but my dad was really able to clear my head and set me back on the right path.”

“My inspiration is definitely my dad, who was able to have a long professional career in England and pursue a coaching role following that,” added Bent.

Bent continued to pursue a career in the English game. Only a year or so later, an opportunity opened up.

“I had looked into coming over to North America when I was sixteen, but didn’t feel as though I was ready to move away from home and still wanted to try my hand in England’s set up. After what felt like a time where I was playing some of my best football, an opportunity came across for me to come to Canada and play university football,” stated Bent.

“Having already passed on this offer previously, I felt it was an opportunity I could not afford to pass on again. In the summer of 2016, I flew out to Cape Breton, NS to pursue my soccer endeavours across the Atlantic and have been fortunate enough to win a national title in my short time here!”

The 2017 USport National Player of the Year, in his second year in Canada with the University of Cape Breton, decided to continue his pursuit of a career in this sport by traveling across Canada to play for the Victoria Highlanders FC of the PDL.

“I look forward to the future of football in Canada as a rapidly growing sport and would love to be a part of it moving forward,” added Bent. Having played a pivotal role so far in the 2018 Highlanders squad Cory looks towards the future with great anticipation.