Lauren Smaha-Muir takes her training seriously.
She’s one of a team of girls heading to the BC Winter Games this weekend in Vernon.
The Northwest team is a collection of the best female hockey talent in the region. There are 16 players in all, including two from Houston, two from Smithers, one from Hazelton. There are players from many other communities as well.
Lauren said that with the Games you have to be your best, and her workouts cover strength building, running and shooting.
“More than anything I’m just stoked,” she said to The Interior News in an e-mail. “I have never really been to a big tournament like this before so it’s going to be cool to play under the pressure and learn what it’s like to get into a higher level of hockey.”
Her coach Mark Roberge, based in Kitimat, thinks that the team will do very well this year. He said that the Northwest team came in as the underdog in past years due to low selection numbers but this year there are a number of strong players that can match well with others in the province.
“We do have a few players who are newer to hockey but if they work hard and do the little things right the team will have a great chance,” he said, also in an e-mail.
Roberge also added that girls have a lot of opportunities in hockey, and that the more girls who play in the grassroots programs the better the north will be in the future.
For Smithers’ Lauren, hockey was the best activity to get into. While she began as a dancer, she followed her brother’s footsteps into the world of hockey and “I knew I was in love with it.”
The BC Games are in Vernon, starting on Feb. 23.