When she was 16 years old, Kristen Campbell made the big move from her
hometown of Brandon, Man., to attend Shaftesbury High School, a Hockey
Canada Skills Academy (HCSA) in Winnipeg.
Eight years later, the goaltender is competing for a spot on Canada’s
Women’s Olympic Team roster. Campbell took time out from her centralization
schedule to talk about her HCSA experience and how she continues to be
impacted by her time in the program.
Hockey Canada (HC): Why did you decide to attend an HCSA?
Kristen Campbell (KC):
I moved away from home to do it because I knew I would get maximum
development there. I was able to practice every single day on the ice with
our team and hockey was counting as a credit there too, so it was awesome
because my gym class was out on the ice. I had my goals set on playing
[NCAA] Division 1 hockey in the [United States] and then also making Team
Canada, so that was going to be a step in the right direction… I had some
great coaches out there, who had a lot of experience with girls getting
into post-secondary, Division 1 schools. So definitely a lot of factors as
to why I made the move, but I knew it was going to be crucial in helping my
game develop and then ultimately achieving those goals.
HC: How did your experience at a HCSA prepare you for playing in the
NCAA and with Team Canada?
There’s a lot of things I learned from it… I think the biggest thing was
just time-management skills. We were travelling a lot, but practicing every
day on the ice; it was quite a lot, but it just prepared me for college and
that lifestyle. I think that being able to incorporate a heavy training
schedule at a young age really helped me when I hit the college ranks and
then obviously, helped me prepare for my opportunities when I got invited
to Team Canada camp as well.
What’s your favourite memory from attending an HCSA?
I would say all the times I got to spend with my team. Not just at the
rink, but away from it too… It was just so much fun. Obviously, I was going
to school with all the girls and then you’re practicing with them. It’s
just the ultimate hockey experience. Before, I wasn’t going to school with
the people I played hockey with. So, I think just enjoying every moment,
whether it was in a classroom when you’re doing schoolwork or in the locker
room, road trips, just everything. It was really great to be able to always
be with your team.
HC: Who was a coach or instructor that really made an impact in your
life during your time at Shaftesbury?
My goalie coach was Gord Woodhall. He coaches with the [National Women’s
Under-18 Team] now. I hadn’t had a full-time goalie coach before, and he
was able to come out to all of our practices and always had a plan for me,
development-wise. We always had something I was working on that day. He was
my psychology teacher too, and my math teacher. He was really great with
the psychological side of the game. He really helped me mentally as a
goaltender. We still keep in touch regularly… he definitely had a big
impact and still continues to keep having a big impact on me.