Young play­ers look for­ward to see­ing world’s best

Truro Daily News - - SPORTS - BY HARRY SUL­LI­VAN

At age 13, Willa Evans of Truro and Bail­lie Grif­fon of East Moun­tain are just slightly older than Jill Saulnier and Blayre Turn­bull were when they watched the 2004 cham­pi­onships be­ing played in Hal­i­fax.

Both girls be­gan play­ing hockey at age five and are cur­rently team­mates with the Fundy High­land Ban­tam AA Sub­way Se­lects team out of Pic­tou County.

They have both also ben­e­fited in the past from Turn­bull’s ex­pe­ri­ence dur­ing hockey schools she helped con­duct and both were on hand to hear Turn­bull and Saulnier speak dur­ing the an­nounce­ment at the RECC.

They also are ea­gerly look­ing for­ward to at­tend­ing the games in 2020.

“I think this event will be a great ex­pe­ri­ence for young girls to learn that hard work pays off,” Grif­fon said.

That will cer­tainly be am­pli­fied if Turn­bull and Saulnier both make the 2020 na­tional team other young fe­male play­ers can get to see two Nova Sco­tian women rep­re­sent­ing their coun­try and play­ing at an in­ter­na­tional level.

“It is go­ing to be a great ex­pe­ri­ence for girls’ hockey and Nova Sco­tia,” Evans added. “Be­cause girls’ hockey is just get­ting started and I think it is go­ing to be a great op­por­tu­nity to kick­start girls’ hockey for younger girls.”

Think­ing back to the 2004 games, Saulnier said that is pre­cisely how she and Turn­bull felt watch­ing their men­tors of the day col­lect­ing their gold medals.

“I think mainly be­cause we saw just how good the women could be,” she said.

“Grow­ing up in Nova sco­tia we weren’t re­ally ex­posed to that. So for us to ac­tu­ally wit­ness that and see how good the world-class ath­letes ac­tu­ally are and to show us that dream was kind of avail­able to chase if you wanted to, it was just great ex­po­sure for us.”

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