Lauren Smaha-Muir is continuing Smithers’ proud tradition of producing high-calibre hockey players.
Smaha-Muir, a 15-year-old Grade 10 student at Smithers secondary school, was recently chosen as one of 80 midget-aged female hockey players to compete at the U18 BC Cup in Salmon Arm, starting today.
Not only was she selected for the tournament out of more than 800 midget-aged girls in the province, she also has the distinction of being one of only 24 defenceman chosen.
“I go hard every shift,” Smaha-Muir said of her on-ice philosophy.
“I think I have a good mental game and I like to rush the puck up a lot, be on offence.”
Having reached the provincial tournament the last two years has helped Lauren see the quality of the best hockey players in the province and strive to meet that standard.
Her dedication to her sport is matched by her dedication to school, said Lauren’s mother, Shari.
And they go hand in hand as she has to excel in school to be allowed the privilege of doing what she loves.
“We tell our kids school is their job,” Shari said.
“If her first priority, school, is not done then hockey isn’t an option.”
Lauren credits the coaches she has had in her eight years of playing hockey with her skill development.
Mario Desjardins coached Lauren last year while she was pulling double duty, playing Smithers Bantam co-ed as well as all-girls hockey in Terrace.
Desjardins said Lauren is an all-around player.
“She is a great kid, a solid defenceman that skates at a high performance level,” he said.
“She has good agility and sees the ice very well and always makes a smart first pass out of her zone.
“She stick handles and has a shot at a high performance level, so there was no question that she would get scouted this year and have an opportunity to compete at the U18 camp.”
Another major factor in her success, Lauren said, is her enrollment in Smithers secondary’s Hockey Academy.
“I play with all the rep boys so I build off of their skill,” Lauren said.
Derek Holland from the Smithers secondary school Hockey Academy helped Lauren prepare off-ice for the BC Cup as the ice is out in the Smithers Civic Centre for the season.
“He’s been a big help,” Lauren said.
As a 15-year-old, she still has one more year of eligibility in the BC Hockey U18 High Performance program.
If she continues to work on her game, Lauren said she thinks her goals of playing on Team BC, Team Canada and university hockey are within reach.
“I always want hockey to be a part of my life,” she said.
The U18 Female High Performance BC Cup starts today, May 8, in Salmon Arm.
The 80 girls selected are split into four teams for a round-robin tournament.
The athletes are vying for an invitation to the Hockey Canada U18 Identification Camp for potential entry into the Hockey Canada High Performance Program.
Lauren, a member of the Wild, plays her first game Thursday night versus the Stars.