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Work together, believe in your team and always stay positive
Story and photos by Kristy Strauss
Work together, believe in your team, and always stay positive.
This is the advice that the Ottawa Girls Hockey Association’s Midget A Ottawa Ice team followed. And this is the advice that helped them earn a bronze medal recently in the Ontario Provincial Championships.
“We weren’t expected to win . . . then we beat a lot of people,” said 16 year-old Aisha Jansen, who lives near the Civic Hospital. “You have to make sure you keep each other motivated.”
The championships took place on April 6 and 7. While they lost in a semi-final game with a 1-0 score, the team competed in the bronze medal game against the Windsor Wildcats.
The girls came out on top in a tight score of 3-2.
“It was pretty rewarding,” said Roslyn Neals, 15, of Fisher Park. “We worked hard all season. We were tough competitors all the way through, so it was disappointing not to move onto the final. But winning a medal was still exciting.”
Seventeen-year-old Hannah Hladkowicz, of Westboro, added that the win was a relief.
“We were only up by one, so it was really stressful,” she said.
While the team was happy they received a bronze after some hard work, they said it was a bittersweet feeling.
The end of the championships meant the season was over and it was the team’s last game together.
Hladkowicz said it was some of the older girls’ last year in minor hockey and the win marked the end of the team playing together.
“The first years, second years and third years are all so close,” she said. “It’s great for the younger guys – it gives them confidence and everyone just feels good around each other.”
Sixteen year-old Aisha Jansen, of the Civic Hospital, added that the team got very close over the year, and it was hard to say goodbye.
The team mates said they owe their success this year to their team, their families, and their coaches Claudio Colaiacovo and Mark Stokes.
“We had some good pre-game pep talks,” said Westboro resident Laura Stokes, 17. “We gave 100 per cent all the time and the way we worked together all year really paid off in the end. We never lost confidence.”
Neals added that confidence is important to winning, and the team had the right attitude the whole season.
“Don’t let anyone else define your team,” she said. “If you listen to the stats or your standings and listen to what other teams are saying, you’ll lose confidence in your team mates and the team in general. We weren’t the best team going into the province . . . but we pushed third to bronze.”
For more information on the Ottawa Girls Hockey Association and their results in the Ontario Provincial Championships: ottawagirlshockey.com.