Three Terrace athletes are travelling with the U16 girls ringette Northern Lights team to compete in Sweden and Finland this month.
The team flies to Stockholm, Sweden, Dec. 28 where they play an exhibition game and tour the area, getting a chance to see the Stockholm Icebar and Globen Skyview. Then they travel to Helsinki, Finland, Dec. 31, to compete in the rest of the tournament and to watch the World Ringette Championship and the Ice Hockey World Junior Championships. They will also celebrate New Year’s at senate square in Finland.
Terrace’s Jessica Dahl, Cassidy Pavao and Sarah McLeod are joining the Prince George-based Northern Lights team along with a few girls from Quesnel, Vancouver and Finland.
They will face off against 12 teams from Finland and Canada in the high-level Helsinki Ringette Festival.
“I can’t wait,” said Pavao. “There was so many different touristy things that they said we could do.”
McLeod said she is most excited for the sightseeing, especially seeing the ice hotel. They said they are also looking forward to the competition, and seeing the different ways people from these other countries play.
“Even in Alberta they play differently, everyone has different strategies,” said Dahl.
The girls have played on the AA Northern Lights team before, which opened the door to this opportunity.
Dahl says she was invited to play as goalie on the U14 team in 2012, and has played ever since. Pavao tried out and made the team that year as well, and McLeod has played since 2013.
The team does not hold practices, as it would require players to do too much travel, but the players simply play in their regular ringette season and have one tournament with the AA Northern Lights team every year.
Pavao said they know all the girls on the team and how they play because they play against them with their Terrace team throughout the year. Northern Lights coach Keith Sullivan said that was part of why he invited the girls to come with them to Sweden and Finland, and also because of their abilities.
“Jessica Dahl is one of the best U16 goalies in the province,” said Sullivan.
“Cassidy Pavao and Sarah McLeod are both very hard workers and very easy to coach as you generally only have to explain to them once and they catch on to what you want.”
This is the first time for the Northern Lights team to travel internationally, and Sullivan said they simply jumped on an invitation from Ringette Canada to come to the tournament.
“The chance to see both the world ringette and the world junior championships and to play in a tournament was too good to pass up,” Sullivan said.
“These players are going to remember this for the rest of their lives.”