A hockey reunion

Kaitlin Willoughby, former captain of the Prince Albert Bears and a current member of the University of Saskatchewan Huskies, will be in Calgary next week for the Hockey Canada Summer Showcase. (Photo courtesy GetMyPhoto.ca)

P.A. hockey player rejoins USports all-star team for Hockey Canada Summer Showcase

Last year former Prince Albert Bears captain and current University of Saskatchewan Huskie Kaitlin Willoughby was part of the inaugural USports all-star team to take part in the Hockey Canada Summer Showcase, a weeklong on- and off-ice skills camp in which Team USports takes on Canada’s National Women’s Development Team and an international opponent.

In mid-July Willoughby was asked to return to the camp, which is once again being held in Calgary from Aug. 5 to 18. She will be one of six repeat attendees, and the only Saskatchewan-born player, to make the USports squad.

“It was amazing. I’m so excited right now to go back. I remember last year at this time I was just so nervous because I didn’t know what to expect and this year I’m just so excited because know exactly how much fun I had last year,” Willoughby said.

“You play against the top people basically in Canada. It’s competition that you’ve never experienced … and that was for me just such an eye-opening experience pushing yourself to play to the best of your ability.”

The development team’s goal is to train and evaluate players who are between the U18 and national team levels and prepare them for future camps and events, like the upcoming Nations Cup tournament in Fussen, Germany in January. Because the development team is no longer restricted to U22, players like Willoughby, who is turning 23, will have a chance to impress Hockey Canada coaches at the Summer Showcase

“For USports it’s big because they’re inviting us to be competition for them, but also to take a better look at us to consider us (for) that development process,” Willoughby explained.

“It’s a neat opportunity for me and all the other girls that get invited to still be involved with Hockey Canada.”

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