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Girls get taste of high-level hockey

Local trio make their marks as part of Vancouver Island select team

PORT McNEILL—What they thought was an impromptu exhibition game turned into a de facto tryout for a trio of local hockey players, who competed on a Vancouver Island select team in the Challenge Cup tournament.

Kerrigan Sharpe, Mercedes Trevor and Randi Ward of Port McNeill each earned spots on the Young Guns 99-00 girls select squad.

They were invited onto the team after skating for the Triport Peewee She-devils, a first-year, all-girls program, in an exhibition game in December against a Campbell River girls team.

That team was coached by Dennis Bellivance, who also coached the Young Guns select team, made up of girls from across Vancouver Island and Powell River.

"I said, 'I guess you'll be expecting the girls to try out,'" said Boni Sharpe, founder and coach of the She-devils team. "And their manager told me, 'From what Dennis said, they're on the team.'"

Throughout the spring, the three girls traveled each weekend to Parksville for two days of practice and games, along with dry-land training and other coaching that comes with playing on a select team.

Because the three missed a team fund-raising activity down-Island, they held their own Walk-and-roll-athon, which involved puck-handling up and down the hilly streets of Port McNeill.

"They went 5-k, and it took them about two-and-a-half hours," Boni Sharpe said. "But they raised $482."

The spring season culminated with a trip to the Challenge Cup at Twin Rinks in Langley. Trevor, Ward and Kerrigan Sharpe each scored and made key contributions as the Young Guns reached the championship final and brought home silver medals.

Trevor scored one game-winner, and Sharpe and Ward combined to set up the clinching goal in the game that sent them to the final.

"The teams that played against them were serious competition," Boni Sharpe said. "They weren't the best players there, just middle of the pack, but they improved every time out."

The team's coaching staff included additional North Island connections. Alli Schneider, who formerly played and helped coach in the Port Hardy Minor Hockey Association, was an assistant coach and former Port Hardy resident Shelley Cook was the dry-land trainer for the team.

Sharpe said the three girls can keep their spots in the program as the Young Guns stick together and transition to older age play.