There's something cool about being on ice in the summertime. For both Reaghan Chadwick and Valencia Yordanov, their summer will be framed around how hard they compete and how they make the grade.
The two Port Coquitlam teens advanced to the next stage of the B.C. Hockey Female under-18 high performance program. Chadwick and Yordanov are among the province's top 24 female players who are heading to Salmon Arm next month to continue the selection process at a Team B.C. summer development camp.
Both have survived zone competitions and the B.C. Cup, where a group of more than 150 players was whittled down to 100, and now 24.
Getting here was not just a result of a few months hard work, however.
"Basically, it's been years of training, lots of on and office work," noted Yordanov, a soon-to-be-16 goaltender.
After two tough tryout camps, getting selected for the summer camp was truly a fantastic accomplishment.
"It was like a real, long process," concurred Chadwick. "There were a lot of players and a lot of good girls out there."
The key, as is often the case, was in both preparation and determination.
"I never give up. My athletic abilities - I think that's what got me there," said Yordanov, who is one of three goalies still standing after all the tryouts. "I've played goal for the past four, five years and hockey for seven, so it's kind of what I'm focused on."
Chadwick has been through previous B.C. Cup camps and was a member of B.C.'s squad that finished fifth at last year's national championships.
Through it all, providing a steady contribution has been her bread and butter.
"I think I brought good hockey sense, I read the play well and used my body. I try to be well-rounded," she noted.
Both are Riverside Secondary students and both have followed their own route to this pinnacle.
Chadwick played with the Junior Women's Hockey League's Pacific Steelers and got to travel to Boston and Vermont this past season. Her start in the sport saw her play in PoCo minor hockey on boys team before graduating to the B.C. girls major midget league.
"Starting with boys (hockey) was really good for my confidence- The pace was fast, and you learn fast."
She is also a polished lacrosse player, honing her skills while playing alongside boys.
Yordanov took the reverse route, starting in girls hockey before moving the past two years to play with boys in PoCo minor. She was on the rep team two years ago and said that experience really pushed her development - especially since there are so few goalie positions available in girls hockey.
"It was a big benefit. With the girls I wasn't in major midget, just midget level- At the boys' rep league it was a gigantic leap, it meant hockey at a faster speed and harder shots."
She has also benefitted from studying under goalie coach Ron Veidt.
The lefthanded netminder said the past Stanley Cup playoffs made her a fan of Jonathan Quick.
"My favourite goalie? I guess I jumped on the Quick bandwagon after the playoffs. The way he played was insane. No one can beat him," she noted.
Her evolution into a goaltender was just a case of observing the fun that the position seemed to be.
"Back when I was a player I saw that my teammate had so much fun playing goal," Yordanov recalled. "From that point I wanted to try it out, and when I did, I did well."
The B.C. u-18 program is designed to emulate national and international competition, and prepare potential future members of the national program.
That's where Yordanov has her sights set on, too. "My end goal is to be on Canada's women's Olympic team. That would be great."
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