Whitehorse hockey player makes the cut at B.C. Cup

Whitehorse hockey player Maddie Nicholson makes her presence known whenever she goes over the boards, says coach Louis Bouchard.

Whitehorse hockey player Maddie Nicholson makes her presence known whenever she goes over the boards, says coach Louis Bouchard.

“Maddie is a power forward, she’s a natural goal scorer, she’s got very nice hands, she’s developed a lot of speed and power in her skating,” he said. “On ice she’s an impact player. Whenever she steps on the ice, it’s felt. We get a lot of success because the other team has to put on an extra player to cover her.”

B.C. Hockey scouts seemed to have picked up on that at the 2016 Female U16 Provincial Identification Camp last month in Salmon Arm.

Nicholson was one of 120 of the best under-16 players from B.C. and Yukon at the high performance camp and is one of only 40 selected to move on to the next one, it was announced last week.

“I was really happy because I didn’t think I would make it,” said Nicholson. “Every player at the camp gets rated and my rating was a little odd, but they rated every player rather strictly. I wasn’t used to being rated that low.”

At last month’s camp – formerly called the “B.C. Cup” – the 120 players were split into six teams, attended practices, performed off-ice skills, and played three games each in a jamboree style tournament. Nicholson, who was the only Yukon player, logged a goal in one of the games.

“I was really happy with it. I brought it out of the corner and backhand top shelf, right over the goalie’s shoulder,” said Nicholson.

The 40 players who made the cut will next attend an off-ice strength and conditioning camp this July in Richmond where they will work with high performance training staff – the same that trains Canadian Olympians, Paralympians and other elite athletes. They will take part in off-ice hockey skills training, fitness testing, strength conditioning, learn about proper nutrition, and more.

Many of those athletes will then be selected for Team B.C. and will go on to represent the province at national competitions.

Nicholson has been working towards this for years. This past season the 15-year-old forward played her fifth straight season with the Female Mustangs Yukon rep team.

“Maddie is very serious about her hockey. When she came to us five years ago she had a definite goal. We sat down and mapped out a plan for her and she’s been following that plan pretty diligently, and it’s paying off,” said Bouchard, head coach of the Female Mustangs. “We give her exercises to do on her own and stuff we do as a team, and she’s following the plan we gave her and it’s getting her where she wants to be.”

“Off ice she’s worked a lot at becoming a better athlete. She has more endurance, more power, more speed, and that comes from working off ice,” he added.

Nicholson has also played for Yukon at the last two Arctic Winter Games and the 2015 Canada Winter Games where she was second on the team in scoring.

Next season she will head south to play in a hockey academy program at Shawnigan Lake School in B.C.

“I’m really excited,” said Nicholson. “I’ll be playing in the Canadian Sport School Hockey League, so the competition will be a lot faster, a lot better.”

Contact Tom Patrick at

tomp@yukon-news.com

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