Bantam Raiders rush into Alberta Winter Games
Hockey: Rocky Mountain sending 10 players to Fort McMurray competition
Wednesday, Jan 17, 2018 06:00 am
The Rocky Mountain flag will be flying high in Wood Buffalo next month.
Ten skaters from the Rocky Mountain Raiders Bantam Elite squad made the grade in girls hockey as the best athletes in the province head north for the 2018 Alberta Winter Games.
“It’s a huge opportunity,” said Raiders forward Kate Pickering, from Okotoks. “I’m really excited to be able to play with people from other teams and meeting other girls.”
It won’t be all new for those headed north.
Six Okotokians in Pickering, Raiders captain Jordyn Matthews, sisters Brooklyn and Kristin LeDuc, Hailee Easson and goaltender Hali Lawrence will suit up for Zone 3.
“I’m just super excited to have the chance to play with the best players in all of the province,” Matthews said. “And to see the different competitions. It’s incredible to see that all of the work, and the people that have supported me, it has all paid off.”
Joining Lawrence in goal is Raiders teammate Falyn Thomson out of Longview. Both netminders are first year Bantams.
For Thomson the Winter Games is another step in a breakthrough season.
“Making it as a first-year goalie is amazing,” Thomson said. “I never even thought I would make the Raiders team as a first-year. It’s pretty amazing that I even tried out and made it as far as I did.
“I’m just really looking forward to the experience and having some of my friends there along with the team and just getting to know the whole entire Zone 3 team is going to be fun.”
The rosters were determined from regional selection camps in December.
“We played three games and had a female league development ice session,” Pickering said. “There were six teams they separated each player into.
“I tried to show them my capabilities, what I can do on the ice and what kind of hockey player I am. I play well with many players and I’m good on my feet.”
Fellow Raiders in Chestermere’s Keana McKibbin, Strathmore’s Kaia Gron and Nanton’s Genessie Williams will also be competing in the Games.
The 2018 Alberta Winter Games run Feb. 16-19 in Wood Buffalo.
Zone 3 will be guaranteed of one thing – familiarity.
“We’ve all played together for a few years now and we have chemistry,” Pickering said.
History is on the side of the Foothills zone.
The Big Country zone won three straight gold medals in female hockey from 2010-2014 before seeing the run snapped at the 2016 event where it finished outside of the medal picture. Most recently, Okotokians Kennedy Brown, Breanne Trotter, Lacey DiMaulo, Halle Bodnarchuk and Janae Ramsay struck gold for the Foothills zone at the 2014 Games.
For more information go to albertasport.ca