Young gun gains spot on provincial team - Aug. 22, 2013
Last year, Sydney England went to an under-15 girls hockey development camp as an underage player, and was sent home after the first round of cuts. This year, appropriately aged and with another year of experience under her belt, she’s made a team that puts her in elite company, and she couldn’t be happier.
“It took a lot of hard work, but was fun and it paid off,” said 13-year-old England of her latest accomplishment: making the New Brunswick squad that will compete in this year’s Atlantic Challenge Cup.
As mentioned earlier, it all started with an initial tryout in April. Following that, the field was whittled down to 40 players. Those players were invited to a second tryout at the end of July. “From there, they pick the top 20 people,” said England.
Two New Brunswick female teams will be sent to the Atlantic Challenge Cup, being held in Moncton this October, an under-15 team and an under-17 team. Last year, England admits, was a little disappointing when she didn’t make the team, even though she was underage. That, however, only added to her excitement about the opportunity to play this year.
“I’m really excited to go. It will be a really fun experience. You stay there for three or four days, you take a bus everywhere and have a big banquet. It will really push me to become a better player.”
England is excited about becoming a better player in a year when she’s moving on from something she said has made her a better player these past few years: playing with, and against, boys.
Last year England played for two teams, the Fundy Hericanes, an all girls bantam squad, and the peewee AAA Riptide, a boys hockey team. This year she’s decided to only play with the Hericanes and forego playing boys hockey. Playing with the boys is something she’s admittedly going to miss.
“I think it helped a lot, because in boys hockey you really have to think about where you have to pass and go on the ice,” said England, a defence-savvy centre. “I’m going to miss the speed of it. The girls hockey is also really fast, and the team, if I make it this year, is also really fast.”
While she is going to miss playing hockey with boys, England isn’t feeling too sorry for herself. She still has the opportunity to play alongside elite talents from this province, and against elite talents from other provinces. England is also in that elite company at an early stage.
Only two players born in the year 2000 made this year’s team, with England being one of them. The other girls on the provincial team are all born a year earlier, in 1999.
While England credits some of her success to playing amongst the boys in years previous, she doesn’t feel as if she’ll be missing out by not competing with the opposite sex. In fact she’s looking forward to embracing female hockey fully this year.
“It’s a little bit of a different game, but you get more room to skate with the puck on the ice, which I like,” said England. For England, the hockey season hasn’t even started yet, and already she’s reached one of her goals.