Four years ago, when Whitehorse’s Tamara Greek and Marsh Lake’s Jocelyn Wynnyk first began playing hockey, their skating wasn’t up to par.
“When we first started, we couldn’t skate and everyone said we wouldn’t go anywhere,” said Wynnyk.
Well, look at them now.
B.C. Hockey announced late last week that Greek and Wynnyk have made the latest team-selection cut after they played in the B.C. Cup in late April in Invermere, B.C.
They are the first Yukon players, male or female, to advance past the B.C. Cup in the multi-stage process of selecting B.C.‘s provincial team for the national championships next season.
“The thing that got me the most about making it was the feeling you proved everyone who said you couldn’t do it, wrong,” said Greek. “In the end we proved them wrong and did it.”
The two players competed on different squads at the five-team selection tournament. They were joined by Haines Junction’s Dana van Vliet, who did not make the cut.
Greek played on the Falcons team that went on to win the tournament. The 15-year-old defenceman scored one goal and had three assists over five games.
“It hasn’t really hit me yet that I made it, but I was pretty stoked for us to be the first Yukoners to ever make it,” said Greek. “It was fun. It was hard. It was like nothing I’ve ever done before. It was a new experience all around.”
Wynnyk, 17, is one of just four goalies selected from the Cup, and the only one from B.C.‘s northern zone, which includes the Yukon. Last month marked her second time playing in the B.C. Cup.
“I went last year and I didn’t really know what to expect, so I knew what to expect this year,” said Wynnyk. “I worked really hard and would have been disappointed if I didn’t (make the cut) because, coming out of it, I felt really confident. I didn’t know I would make it, but I felt really confident I’d make it to the next round.
“When I got the email, I was so happy.”
Greek and Wynnyk (and van Vliet) arrived at the B.C. Cup though tryouts in Prince George, B.C., in March. Only the top-100 players in the province made it.
Following the Cup, that number has been cut in half. Greek and Wynnyk will soon travel to Salmon Arm for the next selection phase: a training camp with an emphasis on fitness testing.
“They push you really hard to see if you can keep up with it,” said Greek. “It’s like the B.C. Cup times 10.”
Both players have had a busy season. Greek and Wynnyk played for Team Yukon at the Arctic Winter Games this past March in Whitehorse, going on to take bronze. At the Games Greek was named most valuable defenceman in the tournament, leading her team in points. She scored a hat trick and had an assist in the bronze medal game against N.W.T.
Greek was also the only female player on the Midget B Mustangs, a Whitehorse representative team, this past season. Conversely he was also the only female player in the entire Whitehorse Rec Hockey League.
Wynnyk spent this past season playing in net for the Prince George Cougars, a AAA midget team that made it to the second round of the playoffs in their division.
“We had a really strong team this year, lots of really skilled players,” said Wynnyk. “We were a really defensive team but had problems scoring goals. In the playoffs we kind of choked.
“But it was one of the best things I’ve ever done, to be down there and get the exposure and the experience.”
Greek and Wynnyk also represented the Yukon at the 2011 Canada Winter Games in Halifax and at the 2010 Arctic Winter Games in Grande Prairie, Alta., capturing the silver in the latter.
Both players are looking at possibly attending a hockey academy this fall and are hoping to secure sponsorships to help cover the expenses. If interested in helping Greek and Wynnyk reach their goals, contact Beverly Greek at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Contact Tom Patrick at