A Chestermere athlete is fulfilling her sports dream of playing on the Canada Winter Games Hockey Team early next year.
Bree Kennedy, 16, has been playing hockey since her father signed her up with a team when she was three-years-old.
“My dad just started making me play, I was a girly-girl, but my dad put me into hockey, and here I am now,” Kennedy said.
“Growing up I had these two girls that were my idols, and they went through the process of Team Alberta, they were successful with it and that encouraged me,” Kennedy said.
She added, “Everyone around me was playing Team Alberta, it was just the thing to do, try out for the team, and hope you make it.”
Kennedy began the long process of trying out for the team, and made it through three training camps, where hopeful athletes were cut each time.
“It was good, it was tough, you got pushed hard, but it was worth it in the long run, got to know yourself and your limits,” Kennedy said.
On Dec. 5, Kennedy found out she had made Team Alberta and would be playing in the Canada Winter Games.
“I was just happy because I played with a lot of those girls before that are on the team. It’s always nice to share that experience with them.
“Only some people get to experience this because not everyone lands on Canada Winter Games year. I think it’s really cool that I get too,” Kennedy said.
Kennedy has been playing forward for the Edge School Female Prep team since she was in grade nine and right now is working towards improving her game which will help her prepare for the Canada Winter Games.
She added, “We still have two more camps that will for sure prepare me.”
Without the assistance from coaches, mental and physical therapists, and educators it wouldn’t be possible for Kennedy to manage her school work and busy hockey schedule, her father Brad Kennedy said.
“Having the opportunity to be coached by a former Olympian and gold medalist, Carla MacLeod, and the many other current Olympians and professionals, Bree is exposed to the experience and commitment that it takes to excel to higher levels in hockey,” Brad said.
Bree is dedicated to sports, education, and being a good person, she is fun loving, hard-working, empathetic and has a great sense of humor, he added.
“We were extremely proud of her ability to reach a goal which she had set for herself,” Brad said.
However, coordinating school, work, and hockey schedules has been challenging at times for Bree, and it is something that requires a lot of time management from her entire family to make work.
Although making the Canada Winter Games Hockey Team has taken a lot of hard work and dedication from Bree, she is now able to rejoice in her accomplishment.
“I’m sure I’ll gain a bunch of friends, and a lot of memories. I think that’s one of the most exciting things for me, just being able to have this experience, not everyone gets to experience this,” Bree said.
“For right now I’m just soaking it in, I’m excited about it,” Bree said.
She added, “I just want to bring my game to the team, help them out anyway I can, try to go for gold, that’s always the goal.”
Having the opportunity to play in the Canada Winter Games is bringing Bree one step closer to her next goal of playing in the Olympics.
“If I don’t make the Olympic team this is the closest thing to it, I think that’s super cool,” Bree said.
She added, “When I was growing up, a lot of the ex-team Canada players I met were all so passionate, it just inspired me so much.
“I just always dreamt of doing that and making the Olympics ever since, I idolize those girls.”