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Airdrie hockey players crack Canada Winter Games line-ups

“As an occasion that’s solely held each 4 years, it’s quite a lot of strain being named to a type of groups, however I’m truthfully excited in regards to the group we now have and assume it’s going to be quite a lot of enjoyable,” mentioned Walker.

Three Airdrie hockey gamers shall be lacing their skates for Staff Alberta on the 2023 Canada Winter Video games in February. 

Airdrie CFR Chemical substances Bisons defenseman Wyatt Pisarczyk shall be representing Airdrie on Alberta’s U16 boys’ crew, whereas goaltender Farah Walker and ahead Emilia McDermid shall be taking part in for Alberta’s U18 ladies’ crew. 

Pisarczyk, a 15-year-old blue-liner who was selected by the Calgary Hitmen within the WHL draft final spring, mentioned will probably be an honour to don the Alberta jersey on the multi-sport video games, which kick off on Prince Edward Island and run from Feb. 18 to March 5, 2023. The 2-week, quadrennial occasion will see hundreds of Canada’s prime U20 athletes throughout a wide range of sports activities converge on the small Maritime island. 

“I can’t wait. Clearly, it’s like a mini-Olympics and I’ve at all times needed to compete at one thing like that,” mentioned Pisarczyk. 

Whereas he’s presently out with a head harm – he needed to have surgical procedure not too long ago to remedy a mind bleed – Pisarczyk mentioned he’s hoping to be again on the ice by mid-January, giving him loads of time to organize for the Canada Winter Video games. 

The choice course of for Staff Alberta was intense, in keeping with Pisarczyk. The method started with participation on the Alberta Cup final spring, which was adopted by extra on-ice classes to whittle the potential roster all the way down to 80. From there, a shortlist of 30 to 40 gamers was put collectively, and people prospects have been scouted till December whereas taking part in for his or her respective membership or college groups. 

“I’ve performed in opposition to all the fellows on the crew, and with a few them,” mentioned Pisarczyk, who was the captain of final 12 months’s profitable Airdrie Xtreme U15 AAA crew. 

“Now we have an amazing group of fellows and it ought to be enjoyable. I feel we’d be capable to come house with the massive win.”

The final Canada Winter Video games have been held in 2019 in Pink Deer. Staff Alberta fared effectively within the U16 boys’ hockey match, ending third after trouncing Saskatchewan within the bronze medal sport, 12-0. 

Although Alberta, B.C., Ontario, and Quebec are typically the highest groups at nationwide tournaments like this, Pisarczyk was fast to level out the opposite provinces produce proficient gamers as effectively, which is able to make for an intriguing match. 

“Each province is basically good,” he mentioned. “There are positively a few gamers you hear about. Gavin McKenna was the [WHL draft’s’ first overall pick, and he’s out of Whitehorse. There’s always a couple of great guys from every province.”

Neighbours join forces

In an intriguing twist of fate, Airdrie’s two players on Team Alberta’s U18 girls’ team for the upcoming Canada Winter Games grew up just a few houses apart. 

Long-time neighbours Farah Walker and Emilia McDermid are Airdrie’s two representatives on the team. According to Walker, who is a goaltender, she’s played with all three the McDermid sisters throughout her hockey career. 

“[McDermid] is really one among my next-door neighbours and I’ve identified her all through the years,” mentioned Walker, who played for Canada’s U18 women’s hockey team earlier this 12 months. “We’re the one two Airdrie ladies who have been even invited to the camp, and we each made the crew, which is superior – particularly for her, as a result of she’s an ’07 [born player], so it’s thought of her under-age 12 months. However she’s actually good.

“For the final 10 years, we’ve been three doorways down from one another, so we have been at all times down on the pond collectively. I performed hockey with each of her older siblings and grown up with them over time.”

McDermid presently performs for the RINK Hockey Academy in Kelowna, B.C., the place she’s registered 12 factors (three targets, 9 assists) in 17 video games this season.

Walker additionally not calls Airdrie house full-time, as she’s a student-athlete on the Okanagan Hockey Academy in Penticton B.C. Earlier than transferring to the B.C. personal sports activities college, she attended the Edge College for Athletes in Springbank for 5 years. 

The Grade 12 goaltender mentioned the chance to play on the Canada Winter Video games is an thrilling prospect, as she is aware of members of the Alberta crew who competed on the 2019 Video games.

“I’m tremendous pumped. It’s clearly a giant privilege and an honour that I used to be chosen,” Walker mentioned. “As an occasion that’s solely held each 4 years, it’s quite a lot of strain being named to a type of groups, however I’m truthfully excited in regards to the group we now have and assume it’s going to be quite a lot of enjoyable.

After the Video games, Walker mentioned her longer-term future will embody a transfer east subsequent fall to play for the Colgate College Raiders, an NCAA Division 1 crew primarily based out of Hamilton, N.Y. In response to Walker, Colgate boasts one of many prime college girls’s hockey groups in america in the meanwhile.

“They’re a top-10 crew in Div. 1, and have had a extremely good season,” she famous. “They’ve been competing within the top-three or round there, in order that they’re doing rather well.”

Different native representatives on Alberta’s U18 ladies’ hockey crew embody Makayla Watson from Rocky View County and Raedyn Spademan from Cochrane.

“I feel we now have a powerful group and positively our crew environment is basically good,” mentioned Walker, noting the chosen gamers will take part in a crew coaching camp this weekend.

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