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Female hockey star makes high performance team

Bantam rep player to represent Powell River at BC Cup
Chris Bolster

Calli-Ann Abbott has made the cut. She will be representing her hometown on the Vancouver Island U-16 High Performance Female Hockey team when she goes up against the best under-16 female hockey players in the province at the BC Cup in Duncan this spring.

The high performance program is specially tailored to help identify young elite athletes and teach them more specialized skills to excel in hockey.

“For a lot of the girls who are playing all house or rep hockey with the boys, it gives them the opportunity to play with all females, which is a different kind of hockey,” said Traci Abbott, Calli-Ann’s mother. There’s no hitting in female hockey.

Calli-Ann has been playing mixed boys and girls hockey since she was seven years old. In September she joined Powell River Kings’ bantam rep team and is the only girl on the team. Playing at a higher level of hockey has helped her game.

This was Calli-Ann’s second year on the high performance team, but her spot was anything but guaranteed.

Forty-five girls tried out for the team, but only 20 spots were open. Coaches from the U-16 team held tryouts in Nanaimo earlier this month.

Calli-Ann found out she had made the team when she stepped off the ice at the end of tryouts.

Because girls don’t have the same opportunities as boys with junior and professional hockey, the high performance program for girls is a key way for scouts and coaches to identify and train athletes for college and university teams, and provincial and national competition.

A series of off-ice fitness testing and on-ice drills took place during the first day of tryouts. On the second day players were on the ice in evaluation games where coaches and scouts watched and took notes.

At the end of the games players went into exit interviews and the girls found out what the evaluators liked, what they needed to work on and if they made the team or not, Traci said. “She works hard and this is what she wants to do.”