Bears, Foxes picked for SaskFirst tourney

Abby Soyko and the Prince Albert Northern Bears swept the weekend series with the Swift Current Wildcats after 4-2 and 3-2 victories over the weekend. -- Herald file photo.

Members of the Prince Albert Northern Bears and Prince Albert Beachcomber Foxes have been named to teams competing in the SaskFirst Female Under-18 tournament.

Tournament rosters and the schedule were announced Thursday. The tournament, which will be held at the Cooperators Centre in Regina. The Female SaskFirst program is open to all bantam and first and second year midget female hockey players in the province, and begins every February with regional camps held province-wide open to players in the U16 and U18 categories.

From there, the top players play in the SaskFirst Spring tournament, where coaches evaluate players. A shortlist will then be invited to take part in a series of camps over the spring, summer and fall before final rosters are selected in December for Team Saskatchewan, which will compete at the Canada WInter Games.

In years where the Canada Winter Games isn’t contested, the team goes off to the National Women’s Under-18 Championship instead.

The program serves as a gateway to Hockey Canada’s Female High Performance Program, including national teams. It’s also a chance for players to receive significant exposire to scouts. Previous SaskFirst graduates who went on to the national level include Saskatoon’s Emily Clark, who played on the Canadian Olympic Team in PyeongChang, and former Prince Albert Northern Bear Brooke Hobson.

The nine Bears heading to the tournament are:
Tobi Fontaine, D
Brooklyn Anderson, F
Miranda Heidt, F
Jadyn Kushniruk, F
Jessie Herner, D
Jasper Desmarais, F
Lexi Beuker, G
Kate Ball, F
Abby Soyko, F

Both Soyko and Fontaine are from the City of Prince Albert, while Anderson is from Shellbrook and Beuker hails from Melfort.

Weldon’s Shelby Wenig is the lone Fox to qualify for the tournament.