Scoring a goal during a bronze medal game during a national championship and being named the all star player for that same game – not too bad a way to celebrate your 17th birthday.
“The hockey program in Clearwater was a big part in my development as a hockey player,” said Alli Borrow after helping Team BC win a bronze medal at the Canadian U18 women’s championships in Regina the week before last.
“I plan to come back to Clearwater during Christmas break to run practices for girls to help pay it back,” she said.
Borrow started playing hockey in Clearwater on an all-boys team. When a Peewee girls team was formed, she played with them for one or two seasons.
Then, when there was no girls team here for her to play with, she began travelling to Kamloops weekly to compete with an all-girls team there.
After two seasons doing that, at age 14 she was scouted to attend Pursuit of Excellence Hockey Academy in Kelowna.
She studied there for two years then this September transferred to Okanagan Hockey Academy in Penticton.
Both hockey academies combine academic studies with learning hockey skills.
Tryouts for Team BC started last May with a camp for 80 girls from across the province.
This number was cut to 40 for the next camp, which reduced the number again to 27. The final cut for the team was made at UBC in September.
The fitness testing for the team was intense, Borrow said. Results were recorded and, if you didn’t do as well at a later camp as you had during an earlier one, you risked being cut.
“I trained very hard for six months,” she said.
Three other girls from Okanagan Hockey Academy made it onto Team BC, said Borrow.
The roster also included one girl from the Canadian U18 team.
After a training camp in Saskatchewan, Team BC started the national championships by facing off against Manitoba on Nov. 9.
“We won. It was lots of fun,” Borrow said.
The following day they took on Quebec and lost by one point in a very close game. Quebec went on to win silver in the championships.
The day after that was another win for Team BC, this time against Alberta.
That qualified them for the semi-finals, where they faced off against Ontario Red, the eventual gold medal winners.
“That was a really tough game. We lost,” Borrow reported.
Next up was the bronze medal game against Ontario Blue.
Team BC started out the scoring but Ontario Blue came back halfway through the first to tie things up. BC took the lead again, but then the Ontario team tied things up again soon after the start of the second period.
A BC player got another goal. Then, Borrow got possession while the puck was deep in the Ontario end.
The right-winger shot from behind the red line and scored.
“Scoring a goal felt pretty cool,” Borrow said, who loved hearing her name announced because her parents were in the stands. “They were really proud of me. It was just really awesome scoring, knowing that I made an impact with the team.”
“It was honestly an amazing experience and I don’t think I will ever get to do something like that again,” said the Clearwater product. “I just felt so awesome putting on that Team B.C. jersey and playing for my province.”
B.C. has not won a medal at the U18 womens championships since 2005, she noted, so the win tasted extra sweet.
Next step in her career will be to choose which of the four universities in Canada and the U.S. that are trying to recruit her she will attend.
– With notes from Penticton Western News