MacLaren picked for U-18 Okanagan hockey

Cora MacLaren picked for Under-18 Okanagan hockey team

Cora MacLaren (center) looks for an opening in a game during a selection camp for the U-18 Okanagan girls team at the Sportsplex the weekend before last. The Barriere resident made the team.

Cora MacLaren (center) looks for an opening in a game during a selection camp for the U-18 Okanagan girls team at the Sportsplex the weekend before last. The Barriere resident made the team.

Barriere’s Cora MacLaren has been picked to be a member of the Under-18 Okanagan girls hockey team.

The 15-year-old was chosen for the team during a selection camp held at the Sportsplex in Clearwater the weekend before last.

“It was a great experience,” she said. “It was the most amazing thing you could do, if you love hockey.”

MacLaren has been playing hockey with Clearwater and District Minor Hockey for the past four years.

Last year she qualified for the U-16 Okanagan girls team.

“That was great. It was so much fun,” she said.

Playing with the girls team was quite a change from her previous experiences here, where she has been on mostly boys teams.

The girls game is non-contact and there is more emphasis on skills, she said.

The recent selection camp was a great learning experience, MacLaren reported.

“The coaching is very different. They expect you to give more than you should be able to give,” she said.

A special treat for her was the presence of Aaron Ritchie-Bonar, a graduate of the Clearwater hockey program and a former member of the Female U18 Team BC.

Ritchie-Bonar assisted with the coaching during the weekend.

“It was a relief to have someone from this town to help you,” said MacLaren. “She was a very huge role model.”

Coaches like Clearwater

“We love coming here,” said Greg Hermiston, coaching and mentorship coordinator for Hockey BC’s high performance program and Team BC head coach. “The feeling you get when you walk in is community. There is no question that the rink attendants have a passion for the place.”

A total of 19 girls from across the south-central Interior took part in the two-day camp. Activities included fitness testing, one practice and two games.

This was the seventh or eighth time Hockey BC has used the Sportsplex for similar sessions, Hermiston said.

“We get treated really well here,” he said. “The community always helps out, with timekeepers, referees, the concession workers, even a goalie this time.”

He said one local teacher came in and opened up the secondary school so they could use the gym for their programs.

Purpose of the selection camp was to pick players for the Under 18 Okanagan girls hockey team, explained Chris Wagner, Okanagan girls high performance district coordinator.

The team will be one of several competing for the Female U18 BC Cup, which will be held in Invermere this year, April 26 to 29.

The top players from the district teams will be chosen to be part of Team BC during a selection camp in Salmon Arm in May. That team will compete in the U18 National Challenge in Dawson Creek next November.