A Chestermere hockey player is preparing to play defence in the 2020 Alberta Winter Games in Airdrie Alta. from Feb. 14 to Feb. 17.
Hannah Deck has played hockey for eight years, after being inspired to pursue the sport because of her father.
“I got started playing hockey when my dad took me to an introduction to hockey camp when I was seven, and I fell in love with the sport,” Deck said.
Adding, “I was influenced by my dad because he played at a very high level of hockey in the Western Hockey League (WHL).”
Before making the Alberta Winter Games team, Deck competed in three-days of tryouts with 130 girls in three zones.
“When I first found out that I made it, I was so happy and very excited. My initial thought when I saw my name on the list was all shock. I knew I worked my hardest, and it paid off,” Deck said.
“Trying out for this team was important to me because of the high level of hockey that I want to reach,” Deck added. “I had also tried out for the challenge cup the year before but didn’t make it. I wanted to redeem myself by making the winter games this year.”
Deck played in the Chestermere Minor Hockey Association (CMHA) for six years on a boys’ team before moving to play female hockey last season.
Currently, Deck is preparing for the upcoming Alberta Winter Games with her team, the Rocky Mountain Raiders Bantam elite team, from Okotoks Alta. doing dryland practices once a week, and regular practices twice a week.
“Our team will not be practicing together before the games start. We will meet on the first day of the games on Feb. 14,” Deck said.
Although Deck hasn’t met her teammates yet, going into the games, Deck is excited to play the best she can, meet new athletes, and go for gold.
“My biggest goal going into the winter games on, a personal level, is to try as hard as I can every time I step on the ice and to never take a shift off. On a team level, to meet new people, enjoy my experience and to win gold,” Deck said.
Although Deck has had to overcome hardships to get to this point in her hockey career, such as being the last cut from Rocky Mountain Raiders for the 2018-2019 season and being cut from the challenge cup, hockey has always remained a high priority for her.
“Hockey is very important to me because of the team spirit and the energy that flows. The high-level competition makes me want to come to the rink every day to play. And I just love the game itself,” she said.
“Hannah has worked so hard for the past couple of years to improve her game,” said Hannah’s Father Kim Deck.
“For her to make the Alberta Winter Games, we were so proud of her and happy that she was able to see the results of all the work she has put into her skills and development,” he added.