SYDNEY - Working behind the scenes at his sixth Esso women's national championship, Team Nova Scotia trainer Dwayne Semple says he admires the camaraderie the tournament creates among the players.
"I really enjoy this tournament," said Semple, 39, of Tatamagouche. "I can't say it's the social aspect that brings me back, but I really like the team play and watching the girls come back to meet colleagues and team members from other teams.
"There are girls in this tournament who play together most of the time for other national women's leagues and club teams and break up to play for their home provinces. They have a great time."
An operations supervisor with Emergency Health Services in the Pugwash office, Semple got interested in hockey again when his oldest son, 13-year-old Adam, wanted to take up the sport when he was 2 1/2-years-old, taking on the coaching duties of his son's team the day of registration.
From there, he was asked to help out at a hockey safety clinic and then took the trainer's instructor program for the course.
Before the 2001 tournament in Summerside, P.E.I., he was contacted by a friend to help out with the women's provincial team.
"My two loves are hockey and taking care of people and they kind of came together with this," said Semple. "(EHS and Emergency Medical Care) have been very supportive and helpful along the way with this tournament.
Along with his work with the women's team, Semple also has plenty of experience at a number of high-profile initiatives and tournaments. He has worked with Hockey Nova Scotia's Program of Excellence, the men's under-16 and under-17 teams, as well as the under-15 and under-18 female teams.
He also played a part when Team Atlantic went to the 2004 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge in St. John's, Nfld., where he was trainer and equipment manager with former Cape Breton Screaming Eagles trainer Jason Price.
Semple also worked at the World Junior Hockey Championship in 2002 in Halifax and also at the 2004 IIHF World Women's Hockey Championship in Halifax.
He said his fondest memories, however, are of the current Team Nova Scotia women's team meeting Olympians for the first time.
"I remember some of the girls that are actually in this tournament with us, when they were younger and played with us for the first time," he said. "They met some of the girls coming back from the 2002 Olympics. They were so excited to get autographs from those girls.
"Following that, to see their expressions when other girls close to their own age were coming to them to get autographs, those are really memorable experiences, too."
Along with his son, Adam, Semple also has an eight-year-old son, Ben.
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