Kate Friesen - in second row - second player on the right - Photo courtesy of IIHF's Facebook page
It was an experience of a life time for local hockey player Kate Friesen.
"It was quite the honour to get that email asking me to go to Finland. It's a once in a lifetime opportunity and to get picked for that was surprising. I can't thank them enough for it," said Friesen
She was one of seven women hockey players in Canada to be invited to participate in the Under-18 International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) Performance Camp in Vierumäki, Finland. The camp saw players from sixteen different countries come together to help grow the female game around the world.
"It was a really good experience. It was a great opportunity to learn a lot," shared the Altona resident. "There was some really good coaches out there. It was great development for all of us."
Austria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Hungary, Japan, Norway, Russia, Slovakia, Sweden, Switzerland, and USA comprised the other fifteen countries.
The camp, which ran July 12th-19th, helped Friesen learn a lot about being an elite athlete, through skill development, practices, seminars, and games.
"The role development was a huge one," explained Friesen when asked about how this experience will help her and what it will allow her to bring to the Manitoba Female Midget Hockey League's Pembina Valley Hawks next season. "Kind of defining your role, accepting your role, which also ties into leadership and how the leaders need to take that and help their team. There's two different kinds of leaders. You have leading by example and a vocal leader. Work ethic is a big one."
Other players from Canada at the camp included;
- Kristen Campbell (Brandon, Man./Shaftesbury School, CAHS)
- Jaycee Gebhard (Plenty, Sask./Notre Dame, JWHL)
- Ryleigh Houston (Winnipeg, Man./Balmoral Hall School, JWHL)
- Melissa Hunt (Hartney, Man./Westman, MFMHL)
- Sheridan Oswald (MacGregor, Man./Central Plains, MFMHL)
- Marie-Jo Pelletier (Dalhousie, N.B./Rothesay Netherwood School, CAHS
If Friesen had to chose a highlight it would be the amount she was able to take away from the practices.
Hockey Canada has also invited Friesen to participate in the 2014-15 National Women's Under-18 Team Selection Camp.
"Just before I left I received an invitation to go to Calgary on August 7th," said Friesen. "That's another selection camp for the U-18 team Canada. That goes August 7th-17th and on the 17th they make cuts. They pick a series team and the series team stays there from the 17th to the 24th and plays three games against the U.S.A."
Melissa Hunt, Kate Friesen, Ryleigh Houston, Sheridan Oswald & Kristen Campbell