Kimberley Huisman of Fernie is one of three members of the FMAAA Wildcat hockey team who have been invited to attend the 2014 Female U18 BC Cup in Salmon Arm, April 23- 27. Merissa Dawson of Nelson and Stephanie McAuley of Trail have also been invited from the Wildcat team.
B.C. Hockey evaluators present throughout the 2013-2014 season identified Huisman as someone with exceptional skill and aptitude. The Female U18 program is the beginning stage of the Hockey Canada Program of Excellence. It is a chance for players to develop their on and off ice skills, be evaluated and move forward in the Female National Under 18 program.
The top 80 girls have been selected by scouts as the best in the province. The Female U18 BC Cup offers B.C.’s top players in the High Performance Program the unique experience of competing with the best players in their age group from across the province.
Huisman has been playing hockey since she was four years old and is very excited about the prospects.
“This is a huge success for me; all year I had this in mind. It helps keep me on my toes as I know scouts could be watching. There’s always that motivation to push really hard.”
In her second year playing U-18, Huisman said she raised her position this season by bettering her goal per game ratio. She plays centre.
She plays hockey for more than one reason. “It’s a passion I share with my entire family,” she said. “Where ever I move there’s a hockey team and a group of people I feel I can get to know well. I love the game and it helps with settling into school.”
This dedication to hockey has provided off ice benefits for Huisman.
“It taught me good habits with school work. I do it immediately rather than procrastinate. I’m way better; when I have a moment, I do school work.”
Wildcats Manager Jackie Hodgins is also Huisman’s mother. “The Wildcats were on the road pretty much every weekend to play against other teams all season [September through April],” said Hodgins. “It teaches great life lessons- being a team member, keeping the body healthy, eating properly, managing school work and the way they develop.” While it’s a huge commitment, there are so many benefits Hodgins wouldn’t change a thing.
Once at the BC Cup, the hockey players will busy with dry-land training, skill testing and divided into four teams to play multiple games. Their performance will be assessed and the top 40 will then be invited to attend the B.C. provincial camp this May in Lake Cowichan. From there the provincial team will be narrowed to 20 with more training in August before the season starts in September. The provincial team will then compete in the Nations.