Members of the Westman Wildcats hockey team have hit the ice this week at the Canada Winter Games in Prince Edward Island.
Members of our Wildcats donned on black and gold jerseys for this week's 2023 Canada Winter Games (Women), going toe to toe with fellow Canadians on the ice!
Boissevain student, Grace Glover, tends goal with the Wildcats, and this week has taken her stand between the goal posts for Team Manitoba! But it's been a fierce battle for the Grade 12 student.
When asked at what point she had to put aside her excitement and get down to business, she answered it was pretty immediate, recognizing they were playing the best of the best out on ice.
"I think that happened right in the first period," laughs Glover. "Everyone is super excited! It's just channeling that excitement to game time!"
Sharing the ice with some of her former and current Wildcat players has helped ease some of the tension. "There's a few other Wildcats here which is kind of nice. We've spent a few weekends together so that's helped out quite a bit, because it builds the team chemistry before the tournament comes up," she says. "Everyone knows each other - it's not needing to get to know each other here."
The future looks bright for Glover. She was invited to attend Hockey Canada's national women's program selection camp last summer in Calgary, this being an identification camp for the National Women's Team, putting her on Hockey Canada's female hockey radar for future events!
Goaltending for the Wildcats is coming to a close as this is her last season with the women's Westman team. Glover will be heading west to the University of Alberta to play for the Golden Bears next year.
Also showcasing her expertise on the ice at the Canada Games was Deloraine's Hallie Franklin.
"Lots of nerves, excitement and preparation," shares Franklin. "But my teammates, parents and coaches have been really supportive! I'm just really excited to be out here!"
To help prepare for this level of hockey, Franklin says the top four teams in their league are very close in performance level with strong competition. "Our practices are competitive, our games are competitive, the speed is great and the intensity, so I think that follows through to this tournament and should help to prepare as well."
Playing at the Canada Games has challenged Franklin to play at a greater speed and physicality, "and playing with new teammates, that sort of thing," she adds. "But it's going to prepare me well for my future!"
The Canada Games started this week Monday and continues till Sunday, March 5th.
For more information, current stats and scores, and photos visit the website:
Please listen to the interview below with Grace Glover, followed by Hallie Franklin, with Hockey Canada's Brandon Crowe:
Photo Credits: Justin Brown and Linda Schoenfeldt