CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. – After final selections were made for the 2019 P.E.I. Canada Winter Games girls hockey team, all 20 players on the roster set their sights on one date – Feb. 24. This will mark the start of Week 2 of the Games in Red Deer, Alta., a destination that will have taken the team more than two years to reach. Two years of preparation, that no matter the outcome will have been worth the journey.
A coach will tell you, that come game time, all you need to do is trust the work you have already put in. Between on-ice training, pre-games competitions and dry-land fitness, the women’s hockey team will be ready to do just that. A pool consisting of Newfoundland and Labrador, the Northwest Territories and the Yukon will be Team P.E.I.’s first set of barriers in round-robin play. Having fallen just short to Newfoundland and Labrador in the Atlantic Challenge Cup during Thanksgiving weekend, the girls will be looking for redemption when it counts.
The team is proud to boast a roster from tip to tip in our small province. Two of those players, Mya Chisholm of Summerside and Lexie Murphy of Kensington, will be returning to the Canada Games having travelled to Winnipeg in 2017 for golf. On the other end of the experience spectrum is the team’s youngest player, Sarah MacEachern. The 14-year-old Canoe Cove native, is currently playing with boys in P.E.I.’s bantam AAA league and will still be eligible for the next set of Winter Games hosted here on P.E.I. in 2023.
Head coach Chris Harkness will lead the group into battle, but he won’t do it alone. Alongside him will be assistant coaches Genna Phelan, Ferran Brown and apprentice coach Sami Sentner. The group brings a wealth of experience in coaching roles that include experiences at previous Canada Games, along with amateur and varsity levels across Canada.
Harkness, a British Colombia native, was assistant coach with the UPEI women’s team from 2011-2014. Since moving to P.E.I., he has won two bronze medals with PEI’s under-18 girls hockey team at the Atlantic Challenge Cup.
The Canada Games can mean a lot to players who have the opportunity to represent their province, but it might just mean the most to one member of the women’s hockey team, Kyara Somers. The Murray River native suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), an injury that can take months of recovery. After many hours of rehabilitation Somers is back in action and playing her best hockey. An example of resilience and perseverance, Somers and her teammates have competed together for two years and will be looking at performing nothing short of their collective best in Red Deer this February.
For more information on Team P.E.I. and the 2019 Winter Canada Games, stay tuned for more Countdown to the Games articles and be sure to follow Team P.E.I. on Facebook and Twitter.
Jared Murphy is a sport co-ordinator with Sport P.E.I. and will be assistant chef de mission for Team P.E.I. during Week 2 of the 2019 Canada Games.
A look P.E.I.’s girls’ hockey team for the 2019 Canada Games in Red Deer, Alta.:
Maggie Johnston, Irishtown.
Hannah LeClair, Kensington.
Rory Aiken, Charlottetown.
Mya Chisholm, Summerside.
Sarah MacEachern, Canoe Cove.
Jacqueline Mix, Emyvale.
Kyara Somers, Murray River.
Carla Stewart, Crapaud.
Paige Deighan, Wilmot Valley.
Sophie Flynn, Emyvale.
Tianna Gallant, Abram-Village.
Hilarie Gaudet, Summerside.
Gracyn Handrahan, Tignish.
Chloe Hawes, Stratford.
Heidi Lauwerijssen, Irishtown.
Charlotte Linkletter, Bedeque.
Gabrielle MacDonald, Murray River.
Chloe McCabe, Charlottetown.
Lexie Murphy, Kensington.
Carly Thompson, Cornwall.
Head coach – Chris Harkness.
Assistant coach – Genna Phelan.
Assistant coach – Ferran Brown.
Assistant coach – Sami Sentner.
Equipment manager – Madison Clarke.
Manager – Charla Currie.