Seventeen of the top women’s goaltenders are in Calgary, AB this weekend as Hockey Canada hosts its first-ever women’s goaltending camp.
Eight goaltenders from the National Women’s Under-19 program, eight from the National Women’s Under-22 program and one from the National Women’s program are taking to the ice at Norma Bush Arena with seven of the top goaltending instructors in the country.
“We have had so many potential goaltenders emerge across Canada at the U22 and U19 level in the past year that we felt a camp would be a great way to get a look at them all,” says Julie Healy, director of female hockey for Hockey Canada. “We have a limited amount of spaces at most camps we hold, and those spots were never enough to expose all the goaltenders we had to our national team programs. This camp gives us the opportunity to do that.”
For goaltenders like Jamie Miller, a two-time Provincial (ON) Women’s Hockey League champion and two-time Ontario Women’s Hockey Association provincial gold medalist, the camp serves as a way for her to improve her skills and learn what it takes to be a National Women’s Team goaltender.
“Being a goaltender there are a lot of different styles, and unless you work with the coaches from Hockey Canada, you don’t know what they are expecting, or what they are looking for,” Miller says. “It’s good to get out there and get practice with (Hayley) Wickenheiser and (Vicky) Sunohara and all the big names that are out here shooting on us.”
Laura Hosier, a member of last year’s National Women’s Under-22 Team, says the camp is an opportunity to add more to her game by learning not only from the instructors, but by watching how other goaltenders play the position.
“My style is pretty undefined and I like to look at other people and see what they’re doing and see if I like it, and if I like it maybe I’ll keep it,” the Sharon, ON native says. “It’s good to see other styles and try to get a little diversity in my game.”
While the camp is an opportunity for the goaltenders to gather in one place and learn from some of the best instructors, it will also serve as an evaluation camp, with spots at U22 and U19 camps later this summer on the line.
Only four of the eight Under-22 goaltenders and six of the eight Under-19 goaltenders will attend the summer evaluation and selection camps, which has led to a little bit of added pressure for the goaltenders in attendance.
Hosier says she has tried to take some of the pressure off by letting some of her personality come out around the other goaltenders.
“I like to bring a fun attitude and I like to make it laid back, Hosier says. “I know a lot of these girls feel a lot of pressure, it’s Hockey Canada and it’s their dream and everything, and they put a lot of pressure on themselves. I want to bring it down a little and have fun and make them see that it’s still hockey, even if it is at this level.”
Miller says that while she will be having fun on the ice, she knows she is in Calgary to work hard and learn.
How will Miller know if she has worked hard enough? She has a pretty straightforward measuring stick.
“I want to get on that plane to go home on Sunday night and not be able to feel my legs because I worked so hard,” she says. “That’s how I will know.”