At the age of four, Samantha Fieseler strapped on her first pair of skates and took her first steps on the ice.
It was her father who gave her the opportunity to first experience the sport that would become her life goal.
“When I was younger, my dad would always come on the ice with me and we’d always pass and work on stuff,” Fieseler told HockeyCanada.ca of what got her started in the first place.
Fieseler is now 17 years old and in her final year of high school. Hockey is everything to her. She attends the Pursuit of Excellence Hockey Academy in Kelowna, B.C., and will be representing Alberta at the 2013 National Women’s Under-18 Championship, taking place this week in Calgary, Alta.
Starting her hockey career on a boys’ team in Red Deer, Alta., Fieseler quickly gained her love for the sport and moved to Kelowna to attend POE when she was just 12 years old. She stayed there through junior high school, but moved back to Alberta to play in for Warner Hockey School in the Junior Women’s Hockey League during her Grade 10 and 11 years.
While living in Warner, Alta., Fieseler also attended several tournaments in British Columbia, even representing B.C. at the 2011 National Women’s Under-18 Championship in Saguenay, Que., and 2012 National Women’s Under-18 Championship in Dawson Creek, B.C.
While she enjoyed playing at nationals with British Columbia, the costs of travel and the amount of time she had to take out of her busy schedule became too much.
“Warner was a good place at the time,” Fieseler said. “The actual schooling part of it was good as well.”
Fieseler has been to many camps over the years and has met many different people. She has even twice attended Canada’s National Women’s Under-18 Team selection camp, and represented Canada at the 2012 IIHF High Performance Camp in Vierumäki, Finland, back in July 2012, to help grow the female game globally.
Fieseler said although she’s easy to talk to most of the time, when she’s in a dressing room with people she doesn’t know, she tends to be a bit shy at first.
“It doesn’t take me long to open up, but I wouldn’t go up to someone and say ‘hi’ first,” she admits.
But when it comes down to it, Fieseler creates great relationships with her teammates and says that is one of her favourite parts of being involved in hockey.
“Being around a team all the time, it’s kind of like a family,” she said. “You get to know each other and everybody is there for the same reason.”
Finding out she made the Alberta roster for this year’s National Women’s Under-18 Championship, taking place in her home province, has been one of the highlights of Fieseler’s career thus far.
But many of her favourite hockey moments are from her early hockey years.
Her dad still watches her games and she can always turn to him for advice and support. He had her in power skating when she was just four years old, and is still behind her with each and every stride she takes toward reaching her Olympic dreams.
“He has always been there for me and he always pushes me to do my best,” Fieseler said.