Brandon’s Kristen Campbell is heading overseas today for the first time, courtesy of Hockey Canada.
The outstanding 16-year-old goaltender, one of the best netminders in her age group in the country, is one of seven players selected to represent Canada at the 2014 International Ice Hockey Federation Women’s High Performance Camp that begins Saturday in Vierumaki, Finland.
"It’s definitely really exciting," Campbell said yesterday as she prepared for the trip. "It will be a great opportunity ... and it will be a really neat experience to play with players from around the world and we will definitely be taking a lot of knowledge back from this camp ... It’s exciting and it’s a real honour to represent our country in something like this."
Female players from 16 countries will take part in the prestigious camp, which is designed to promote and develop the women’s game overseas.
Campbell will be joined by Hartney’s Melissa Hunt, a 17-year-old defenceman with the Westman Wildcats, and MacGregor’s Sheridan Oswald, a 16-year-old forward with the Central Plains Capitals. Former Brandon Wheat Kings head coach Dwayne Gylywoychuk, who was named an assistant coach with the Canadian women’s team this week and head coach of the national development team, will also be one of 18 coaches and mentors from Canada who will help lead the camp.
Campbell, a former Wildcat who is preparing to play her senior season with Winnipeg’s Shaftesbury Academy Titans prep school this fall, also took part in Hockey Canada’s under-18 women’s strength and conditioning camp in Hamilton in May and is on the short list to play for Manitoba at the under-18 nationals for the second straight year. The 5-foot-10 netminder is coming off a superb season in which she set team records with a superb 0.92 goals-against average and .941 save percentage while posting a 25-3-1 record for the Titans.
While the week-long camp will feature a full schedule of on and off-ice sessions, Campbell is also looking forward to getting a little time to sight-see as she experiences Europe for the first time.
"This will be my first time overseas, so it will be interesting, with the time change and adjusting to the food and stuff," said Campbell, who has verbally committed to play NCAA hockey for UND in 2015-16.
"We will have a pretty full schedule, but we will have some down time to see a few things and it should be a really good experience ... I am looking forward to it."