Local hockey player to hit ice at Winter Games

Fourteen-year-old hockey player Emily McLennan knows the value of hard work.

BRIGHT FUTURE - Emily McLennan has been playing hockey for nine years and was recently selected to be part of the Zone 4 Team for this year’s Alberta Winter Games.

BRIGHT FUTURE - Emily McLennan has been playing hockey for nine years and was recently selected to be part of the Zone 4 Team for this year’s Alberta Winter Games.

Fourteen-year-old hockey player Emily McLennan knows the value of hard work. After nine years of dedication to a game she loves, McLennan earned a spot on the Zone 4 female hockey squad that will compete at the 2014 Alberta Winter Games.

“It was really good, it was excitement with nervousness, just knowing all the work paid off,” said McLennan, when asked about how it felt to make the team.

McLennan found out she made the team the day after the tryouts in November. The Games will be co-hosted by Banff and Canmore from Feb. 6-9. During the Games, McLennan thinks she will mostly be playing left wing because that was the main position she played at the tryouts. So far, the Zone 4 team only has one practice scheduled before the tournament begins. McLennan said she’s not worried that the team will lack cohesion because the coaches based their picks on players who seemed to play well together.

“At the tryouts they were watching for people who can play well with people who they’re not used to playing with, so they’re kind of looking for the flexible team players,” said McLennan. “I think that everyone on the team has the capability of doing that.”

She said that around 90 skaters tried out for the Zone 4 team. During the tryout weekend in November, they were evaluated on both skill drills and game play. McLennan said the competition was stiff. Some of the skaters already had AAA hockey experience. However, McLennan came prepared—both mentally and physically— to impress the coaches with what she can do.

“You have to eat well before the tryouts and when you’re tired, you can’t just give up, so it’s a lot of work,” she said.

McLennan is no stranger to pushing herself beyond her comfort zone. At 14, she is a bantam-aged player, but this season she has been playing with the Lacoka Midget female team. Lacoka combines athletes from Lacombe and Ponoka. Competing with older and bigger athletes was a challenge, but McLennan said she has benefited from the experience.

“It was kind of a little bit overwhelming at first, but you kind of just get into the same thought process as everyone else,” she said.

Until three years ago, McLennan played for male teams in the Lacombe Minor Hockey Association. Though she said she had good experiences playing with the boys and that she sometimes misses the hitting, she prefers playing for Lacoka because it’s easier to form friendships and be a part of the team.

“I’ve had better relationships in girls hockey because you can be involved in the dressing room conversations and stuff like that.”

Part of the responsibility that comes with donning the orange Zone 4 jersey is missing a few days of school.

The Winter Games start on a Wednesday, which means McLennan will have some catching up to do when she gets back to class. Fortunately, her teachers at Father Lacombe Catholic School are very supportive of her efforts and were enthused about her earning a spot on the Winter Games team.

“My teachers and gym teacher were excited to hear that. They like to know the accomplishments that are going on in their students’ lives,” she said.

Hockey and school is something McLennan will continue to balance. Next season, she plans to try out for the Red Deer Midget AAA team. If she doesn’t make it, she’ll continue playing for the Lacoka midget team.

McLennan isn’t sure what her future holds in the long-term. After high school, she might try to get a scholarship to play hockey at the postsecondary level. McLennan knows competition for spots on college and university teams is stiff, so, for now, she is focused on enjoying experiences like the Alberta Winter Games and continuing to compete in the sport she loves.

“I’d like to keep playing hockey as long as I can.”

 

Just Posted

The City of Red Deer sits at 249 active cases of the virus, after hitting a peak of 565 active cases on Feb. 22. (Black Press file image)
Red Deer down to 119 active COVID-19 cases

Province identifies 179 new cases Saturday

Member Terry Parsons’ custom built track vehicle.
Forestburg’s Area 53 Racetrack gears up for action-packed season

Site will also host a portion of the ‘Miles of Mayhem’ event in July

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw reported five additional deaths Wednesday due to COVID-19. (File photo by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
Red Deer at 169 active cases of COVID-19

Province set to move into Stage 2 of reopening Thursday

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

“They will never be forgotten, every child matters,” says Sioux Valley Chief Jennifer Bone in a video statement June 1. (Screen grab)
104 ‘potential graves’ detected at site of former residential school in Manitoba

Sioux Valley Dakota Nation working to identify, repatriate students buried near former Brandon residential school

Denmark’s Christian Eriksen receives medical attention after collapsing during the Euro 2020 soccer championship group B match between Denmark and Finland at Parken stadium in Copenhagen, Saturday, June 12, 2021. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner, Pool)
Christian Eriksen in stable condition, Euro 2020 match resumes

Eriksen was given chest compressions after collapsing on the field during a European Championship

As stories of the horrors of residential schools circulate after the Tk’emlups te Secwepemc First Nation announced it had located what are believed to be the remains of 215 children, Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs said he feels a connection with the former students. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
2 sides of the same coin: Ex-foster kids identify with residential school survivors

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip says the child welfare system takes Indigenous children from their families

Airport ground crew offload a plane carrying just under 300,000 doses of the single-shot Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine which is developed by the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies at Pearson International Airport during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on Wednesday, April 28, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
1st batch of Johnson & Johnson vaccines won’t be released in Canada over quality concerns

The vaccines were quarantined in April before they were distributed to provinces

Grade 12 students at Wetaskiwin Composite High School took place in the annual water fight off school property on June 11, 2021. Shaela Dansereau/ Pipestone Flyer.
Graduating students in Wetaskiwin throw water fight after being told it could result in suspension

Students were told their participation could result in them being barred from graduation ceremonies.

Most Read