Reflecting on how the first year of the Okanagan Hockey Academy Female Varsity program has been doing, Christina Sharun said it has been great.
“Having the varsity division is an awesome addition, not only just for our league, but for the growth of female hockey,” said Sharun, coach of the OHA squad, is third in the Canadian Sport School Hockey League (CSSHL) with 10 wins, six losses and two overtime losses. “I think the teams that we have in the Varsity Division (Delta, Shawnigan, Coeur d’Alene and Banff) this year are highly skilled, highly competitive. It’s a great group of younger kids that are going to be leaders in the next few years.”
Sharun added it is exciting to see more opportunities available. In the long run that’s going to make a positive impact she said, and help grow the game. Sharun, who coached Team B.C. to bronze in the 2016 National Women’s under-18 championship, said in the past four or five years the skill and overall individual skill sets have improved throughout the country. She has seen it at the national championships every year.
Sharun said having academies provide a platform where athletes can come in at a younger age and get that jump on skill development earlier, will only set them up for success down the road. It will ready players for the prep level and into colleges and universities, provincial and national teams.
READ MORE: CSSHL expanding its Female division
“It’s a really exciting time for women’s hockey in B.C. and throughout the country,” she said.
Sharun saw her players grow in the first part of the season. Skill development is always an important priority for the program as well as continuing to gel as a team.
“We’ve got a tougher second half coming up as far as games,” she said, as her team returns to the CSSHL schedule with a trio of games against Shawnigan at the Shawnigan Lake School Arena, then hosts Delta Jan. 20 to 22.
The last part of the season is about preparing for the CSSHL playoffs.
One of the key players for the OHA this season has been Penticton product Andy Main, 15. Sharun, who has worked with Main over the last couple of seasons, said the defenceman has been great.
“She has grown immensely as a player. She works her butt off every day. She’s got a great work ethic,” said Sharun, as Main has seven assists in 18 games. “She is the captain of our team and has really risen to that challenge. She’s a natural leader. A great personality.”