Vancouver Sun

Province shut out of top team — again

- DONNA SPENCER

The three biggest internatio­nal women’s hockey events have now been held in B.C. without a player from the province on the Canadian team.

The 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, the 2014 Four Nations Cup and the 2016 women’s world hockey championsh­ips in K am loops have come and gone without a B.C. player in them.

The fact that goaltender Danielle Dube was the only British Columbian to play for Canada in a world championsh­ip over two decades ago is a head-scratcher.

B.C. has double the number of registered female players than Nova Scotia, which put two players on Canada’s team in Kamloops.

Du be says the small pool of girls playing hockey in B.C. in the 1990s were on boys’ teams. They weren’t on the national radar compared to those playing in the Toronto-Montreal corridor where there were female teams.

When she came out of retirement four years ago at 36 to play goal for the UBC Thunderbir­ds, the firefighte­r and mother of two says it was the first time she’d played on a full women’s team other than Canada.

“B.C. I think at one point was the fastest-growing province for women’s hockey. We have tons of girls now playing and lots of talent.”

B.C.’s lack of representa­tion on the national women’s team isn’t lost on the province’s hockey minds.

The 2010 Winter Games were a turning point for girls’ hockey in B.C., in both inspiring girls to play and BC Hockey getting serious about how to get them there.

“We’re not sitting here concerned, but it has been a wake-up call and has been for a number of years that we haven’t placed a player on the team,” BC Hockey chief executive officer Barry Petrachenk­o said. “We feel like we’re close.”

B.C. was close this year. Sarah Potomak, 18, of Aldergrove wore the Maple Leaf in November’s Four Nations Cup in Sweden. The forward was among the last players cut from Canada’s world championsh­ip roster.

Her 16-year-old sister, Amy, earned a silver medal with Canada at this year’s world under-18 championsh­ip in St. Catharines, Ont.

It wasn’t enough to get a B.C. player on the 2010 Olympic roster, but BC Hockey had an improved female high-performanc­e system by the time Potomak entered it.

The 2017 women’s world hockey championsh­ips will be in Plymouth, Mich.

The women invited to try out for Canada’s 2018 Olympic team will be named shortly after the tournament’s conclusion. Potomak wants to be chosen for both.

“This year I was pretty devastated when I got cut, but I’ m just going to work my butt off and hopefully make it next year and hopefully make it to the Olympics.”

 ??  ?? Sarah Potomak
Sarah Potomak

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