Two years is not a lot of time to learn a sport and make significant headway in, but it was enough for two Whitehorse hockey players.
Defenceman Tamara Greek, 13, and centre Linsey Eby, 14, who both played this past season for the Avalanche bantam team, Yukon’s only rep girls team, have been scouted by the AAA Rockets out of BC and will play a pair of off-season tournaments with the girls’ bantam team in the coming months.
Their selection by the Rockets is no surprise to Avalanche head coach Louis Bouchard, but it would have been had you told him two years ago when the two tried out for his team bringing very little experience or know-how.
“We had to take (Greek) in because we just did not have enough girls to field a team,” reminisced Bouchard in an e-mail to the News. “I mean if someone would remove her stick, she would fall flat on her face. That is how far she has come in 20 months …
“Linsey Eby is an intense player her drive to win is strong, she was a leader on the ice for the Avalanche team.
“These girls want to have fun but they have also figured out that winning is a lot more fun than losing and they play to win.”
Eby and Greek caught the eye of Rockets scouts while playing in Richmond Ice Classic at the end of March in Richmond, BC. No doubt, with just nine players on the bench, Eby and Greek had a lot of ice-time to showcase their talents as the Avalanche went 0-1-4 at the tournament.
“It was a surprise; I had no clue there were scouts there,” said Greek, who’s highlight at the tournament was scoring two goals in one shift. “I thought I did well – when I’m out of town I always play better than I do in town. I just don’t think about it as much.”
“We didn’t know we were being scouting, so I was just concentrating on my game; I was just playing,” said Eby. “(Getting scouted) makes it feel like you’re not wasting your time trying hard.”
The Whitehorse players will attend a practice with the team in Vancouver for the weekend of May 15-16 and will play with the team the following weekend in Saskatoon. In June Eby and Greek will travel to Winnipeg to play a second tournament with the team.
“Even though they have played at AWG in Grande-Prairie they have never been in a tournament where all the girls are their age and caliber,” wrote Bouchard.
This season with the Avalanche Eby finished with 58 goals, 20 assists and 42 penalty minutes, in 29 games, while Greek accumulated 23 goals, 17 assists and 8 penalty minutes in 32 games.
The two also played together on Team Yukon’s junior girls’ hockey team at the Arctic Winter Games in March, helping the team win silver. For Eby and Greek, the Arctic Games was a real eye-opener.
“It was the funnest time I’ve had in hockey,” said Greek. “It showed me that if I worked harder, I could skate with all the higher level players.”
“It made me realize what a higher level of hockey is,” added Eby, who scored Yukon’s only goal against Alaska on her birthday to start the Games with a 1-1 tie. Greek went on to also score against Alaska in Yukon’s 4-3 semifinal win over the defending champion team.
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