After a gruelling three days of try-outs, Prince Rupert’s Samantha Wiley was selected to play on Team BC in the upcoming 2019 National Aboriginal Hockey Championships.
Coaches sat together scribbling notes as they watched the young female athletes compete against each other in an Abbotsford arena.
Sam was given a few tips on how to up her game, and in the second round of cuts the coaches told her she only improved, and she was chosen for Team BC.
“I’m just ready for all the competitive hockey we’re going to be playing, it’s going to be awesome,” she said.
The fierce 14-year-old Haida athlete has had quite the season.
March 17-20, she played defence for the Seawolves in the Bantam Tier 4 championships hosted in Prince Rupert, where her team placed second, and she assisted the only goal in the finals.
That night, she flew to Surrey to play for the Prince George Caribou Cougars where her team won bronze in the provincial tournament. After a short break, she competed in the Prince George Aboriginal Hockey Championships, April 5-7, on the Prince George Bulkley Bears team. Sam was the only female on the Tier 1 Bantam boys team. This time, her team took home the gold.
Next up, she travelled to Abbotsford for the National Aboriginal Hockey Championship try-outs, where she was competing against some of the best Aboriginal girls hockey players in the province. Most of the young women she was up against were Midget age, between 15 to 17 years.
Sam’s parents heard the coaches always pick the Midget girls first, so they decided not to register through I-SPARC (Indigenous Sport Physical Activity and Recreation Council) last year.
“We were pleasantly surprised when she passed the first rounds of cuts,” Val said.
On May 4, Sam will fly back down to Vancouver to practice with Team BC in Delta. After two practices together, they will fly to Whitehorse for the championships May 5-13, when she will be playing teams from across the country.
There is one other Haida player on the team, Nancy Moore, who is based in Prince George. Sam is looking forward to getting to know her teammates, and her coaches, more before and during the national championships.
Shannon Lough | Editor
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