Okotoks girls skate into Alberta Winter Games
Hockey: Five Bantams earn spots on Big Country roster for 2014 event
By: Remy Greer
| Posted: Wednesday, Dec 11, 2013 06:00 am
Five Okotokians will be feeling a Rocky Mountain high when the Alberta Winter Games come to Banff and Canmore in February.
Okotoks’ Kennedy Brown, Halle Bodnarchuk, Janae Ramsay, Breanne Trotter and Lacey Dimaulo all skated their way onto the Zone 2 Big Country roster for the 2014 Alberta Winter Games.
“I’m really looking forward to seeing the different zones and how each of them are different and it’s going to be a cool experience to stay with your team all the time and be able to watch the other events going on,” said Brown. “It’s like an Alberta Olympics.”
Qualification onto Zone 2, a massive region stretching from Olds to Banff to Drumheller and Okotoks, came down to performance at evaluation camp on the first weekend of December.
“It was challenging, but I felt as one of the second-years on the ice I kind of had to be a leader. It wasn’t as if I was struggling, I felt confident out there,” said Bodnarchuk, who relied on determination to make the squad.
“I was always staying on the puck, working hard and not being that girl who doesn’t act like a team player, always trying to push the team forward.
“I’m really excited and really happy I made the team. It will be a great experience, there will be a lot of scouts there and people watching.”
For Brown, a second-year Bantam, sticking out amongst the 12 forwards and 20 players to make the roster came down to staying within herself on the ice.
“I thought I was working really hard and just playing my game which is what they asked us to do. I would really consider myself a very tenacious player and very aggressive,” said Brown, 14. “It was a good experience to get out there and see what it was like (at camp). There was a lot of younger girls, it went all the way to 2002 (born players) so it was just different.”
Ramsay, a reliable two-way blueliner, made a point of showing off her ability to jump into the play as an offensive-minded player from the back-end at the evaluation camp.
I controlled the puck and just played my game. I like to set up the plays and at that camp I made a lot of rushes to make myself noticed,” Ramsay said. “I just made good passes and smart plays.
“Going to Winter Games is just awesome on its own. You know you’re the best in your zone. I went to Alberta Challenge Cup last year so I’m thinking it will be somewhat like that.”
Zone 2 is comprised almost entirely of Rocky Mountain Bantam AAA Raiders with 15 of the 20 players on Big Country plying their trade with the club including Ramsay, Brown, Bodnarchuk and Trotter. Given the Raiders’ dominance in league play, a 12-1-1 record, Big Country looks promising heading into the Alberta Winter Games.
“I think it will help a lot because we’ve played with each other for almost half a year now so we’ll have a lot of experience and we’ll know what kind of game we’re playing,” Brown said. “I’m expecting some of the other zone teams to be majority AAA teams so I think we will do really well.”
Big Country will look to keep the streak of gold medals alive for Zone 2. In 2012, Okotokians Erika Iglesias and Amanda McLeod and Millarville’s Malia Schneider struck gold. At the 2010 Winter Games, DeWinton’s Jillian Barvir and Megan Hansen, Okotoks’ Bailey McLellan and Longview’s Kaylin Snodgrass earned their spot on top of the podium.
The Alberta Winter Games are Feb. 6-9 in Canmore/Banff. In girls hockey, the Alberta Winter Games are the first stage of the Team Alberta program in which the top 60 players from the tournament are selected to attend the U16 summer evaluation camp.
For more information on the games go to 2014awg.ca