Western News Staff
Sophie Shirley of the Okanagan Hockey Academy Female Prep team is among 44 players invited to attend Canada’s National Women’s Team Fall Festival from Sept. 11-18 in Calgary.
Shirley, a native of Saskatoon, Sask., was part of Canada’s National Women’s Under-18 Team for a three-games series against the United States in August. The 17 year old won a silver medal with Canada’s National Women’s Under-18 Team at the 2016 IIHF Women’s Under-18 World Championship. Among the players she will skate with at the festival are 16 members who won gold at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, including Megan Agosta,Shannon Szabados and Hayley Wickenheiser.
Jim Fetter, OHA Female Prep coach, said it’s fantastic for Shirley to get this chance.
“It just goes to show all the hard work and sacrifices she’s made throughout her life and the coaches she has played with that have helped her along the way as well, helped her get these opportunities,” said Fetter. “Especially for a player that age, getting the opportunity to skate with the national team.”
The selected players will take to the ice on two teams, Red and White, over the seven-day camp that will feature eight games along with practices at the Markin MacPhail Centre.
The Fall Festival serves as an important evaluation opportunity for Canada’s National Women’s team coaching staff, alongside Melody Davidson, Hockey Canada’s general manager of national women’s team programs.
“The Fall Festival is a critical touchpoint for the players in our program as they come together for the first time on the ice this season with our coaching staff,” said Davidson on the Hockey Canada Website. “These 44 players have worked hard to earn their invites and this is a great opportunity for them to show if they have what it takes to represent Canada at the senior level on the international stage throughout the 2016-17 season.”