Hailey Haskell will be pursuing her passion, come Feb. 23.
“It’s a pretty good feeling,” she says of her selection. “I did it last year at the BC Cup.”
The Female U16 BC Cup runs on alternating years to the BC Winter Games. To qualify for female hockey, there is an eight-team provincial competition with players selected from the zone evaluation camps.
Haskell, 14, will be joined by two members of her Midget A Female Salmon Arm Silvertips, who just won OMAHA (Okanagan Mainline Amateur Hockey Association) league play. Also selected from the Midget Rep team to go the BC Winter Games are former Salmon Arm resident Jenna Lazar and Ali Roine from Lumby.
Haskell likes “everything” about hockey.
“It’s a passion. It’s a ‘once you start, you can’t stop,’ kind of thing.”
Her long-term goal would be to get a scholarship and play university hockey.
Looking back, her most memorable moment was in peewee hockey.
“Probably the first time I made a rep team in peewee. I don’t really try out for those things, and then I thought sure why not. It boosted my confidence a bit.”
Haskell’s brother and father play hockey, and she also plays soccer and softball.
She grew up playing hockey with boys, but once hitting became part of the game, she switched. She doesn’t see as many younger girls in Salmon Arm joining anymore.
“I’m the only one my age – there might be a couple of house players. There are a lot of older girls. I don’t know why, but the young girls haven’t joined.”
Haskell will be joined by Jenna Lazar, also 14, who was born in Salmon Arm but moved to Vernon in Grade 4. Hockey runs in her family, with all three of her brothers playing.
Her brother Curtis, who plays with the Western Hockey League Edmonton Oil Kings, is well-known locally. He broke scoring records during the Canada Winter Games last year in Halifax.
She, too, is excited to be playing in the Winter Games.
“It’s very good and super exciting. I’m honoured to be picked.”
And she, too, loves hockey.
“It’s so much fun and something to do with your friends. It’s fun – and active.”
Although the teams don’t get to practise together beforehand so as not to put any of the more isolated teams at a disadvantage, they’ve been getting to know each other via the Internet.
“We have a Facebook group, everybody talks and stuff, we’re trying to get bonded before the Games. We talk about everything – what’s going on, things about the team and ourselves to get to know each other.”
She hasn’t decided on a specific goal yet, but wants to continue having fun.
“Hopefully it will take me somewhere someday. I just want to have fun and always enjoy it.”
Thompson-Okanagan opens against Fraser River-Delta Friday at 9:15 a.m. and then meets North West in their second game Friday at 8:30 p.m. They finish preliminary play Saturday at 1:45 p.m. versus Vancouver-Squamish. The semifinals go Saturday night with the medal games set for Sunday morning.