Katie Cox tries out for Team Canada

Port aux Basques hockey player en­joys per­sonal chal­lenges that come with at­tend­ing high per­for­mance camp.

The Gulf News (Port aux Basques) - - Front Page - BY ROS­ALYN ROY Ros­alyn.roy@gulfnews.ca Twit­ter: @tyger­lylly

She might be only 15, but Katie Cox has al­ready been to two Team Canada Un­der 18 fe­male try­outs.

The tenth grader is the only fe­male hockey player along the South­west Coast in­vited to the camp this year.

“This year and last year were a bit dif­fer­ent. Last year I had to go to . . . an iden­ti­fi­ca­tion camp,” Cox told The Gulf News.

Out of that camp, 40 were picked to go through to a High Per­for­mance Pro­gram (HPP).

“This year I didn’t have to go to an iden­ti­fi­ca­tion camp. I just went straight to the HPP.”

This was the first year the HPP camp was held in Cor­ner Brook. In re­cent years the camp was held in Gan­der.

Cho­sen play­ers from the HPP were then in­vited to the next de­vel­op­ment camp in Cal­gary and to try out for Canada’s Na­tional Women’s Team U18, which squared off for a three-game series ver­sus the United States.

Un­for­tu­nately, Cox was not in­vited to the Cal­gary camp this year, but she still en­joyed the Cor­ner Brook camp.

“Push­ing your­self is prob­a­bly the hard­est part,” says Cox, “be­cause it’s not called High Per­for­mance Pro­gram for noth­ing. It’s re­ally de­mand­ing on your body and mind.

“If you didn’t push your­self you wouldn’t re­ally get any fur­ther. You’ve got to test your lim­its.”

In ad­di­tion to her in­vi­ta­tion to the Cor­ner Brook try­outs, the teenager has also played at the New­found­land Win­ter Games, for the boys’ mid­get league and for the Port aux Basques Blaze U20. Un­til a cou­ple of years ago she also played AAA. She will play again for the Blaze U20 and the midgets in the 2018-19 sea­son.

De­spite her slen­der frame, the 5 ft. 7 in. Cox is a solid de­fender. She uses speed and tech­nique to her ad­van­tage.

“I’ve tried for­ward. It’s all right but de­fense is my favourite,” says Cox, who reg­u­larly takes on much big­ger play­ers. “If you have a tech­nique then they’re not go­ing to get past you ei­ther. You have to . . . adapt the tech­nique.”

Per­sonal chal­lenges aside, Cox says she also loves just meet­ing peo­ple.

“That’s the great thing about the HPP. It’s peo­ple from all across the is­land and Labrador, and it’s a lot of peo­ple you don’t know. It’s just way more con­nect­ing.”

When she’s not play­ing hockey, Cox also en­joys soc­cer and vol­ley­ball. But hockey is her first love and, like most young play­ers, she has a favourite NHL team.

She draws in­spi­ra­tion from the Pitts­burgh Pen­guins, or more specif­i­cally the team’s cap­tain.

“You look at Sid­ney Crosby,” notes Cox. “I’m from Nova Sco­tia. He’s from Nova Sco­tia. You see where he got.”

While she’s not nec­es­sar­ily dream­ing of the NHL, she be­lieves that be­ing from a small town is not a hin­der­ance when it comes to achiev­ing a high pro­file sports ca­reer.

“You can still make it.” What­ever the fu­ture holds in store for her, Katie Cox is tak­ing things as they come and en­joy­ing the jour­ney.

“I like just to push my­self; once I get up to a cer­tain level I push my­self to an­other one and try to achieve it,” says Cox. “I’m just go­ing to see what hap­pens.”

Katie Cox will lace up for the Port aux Basques Blaze U20 this up­com­ing sea­son.

PHO­TOS COUR­TESY OF NA­DINE COX

Katie Cox en­joys the per­sonal chal­lenges that come with play­ing hockey.

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