Playing for Saskatchewan

© Submitted Ireland South, Hannah Koroll and Brooke Hobson sport the team Saskatchewan jersey

Three Prince Albert Northern Bears represented the province at the U18 Nationals

Hannah Koroll, Brooke Hobson and Ireland South of the first place Northern Bears contributed to a rock solid team Saskatchewan last week in Regina.

The best young female athletes from across the country suited up for the 2016 National Women’s Under-18 Championship. Alberta, Atlantic, British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec and Saskatchewan all went head-to-head in search for a gold medal and hockey supremacy.

For Hobson, this was her third time donning the green and gold jersey at the tournament and explained how her role has differed over the years.

“It changed from the younger, looking up to the older [players], to me being the oldest and one of the leaders on the team,” Hobson said.

“Helping all the rookies and all the new people coming into this tournament and helping them feel comfortable just like my vets did when I was coming in, that was my goal.”

It was a different feeling for the 17-year-old this time around, without a doubt. She shared the alternate captain role with South — who has committed to the University of Regina — and spoke about what it felt like to play with her and Koroll.

“It’s good seeing some of the Bears come to that calibre of level,” Hobson noted.

“Hannah was new this year, I know she was pretty excited that I got the leadership role … Sharing the leader [role] with Ireland, another one of my teammates, was definitely a good experience … just being recognized as one of the leaders and one of the people that clearly the coaches think of, it’s a good feeling and kind of a rewarding feeling.”

Not only was the trio from the Bears playing together, but they came together in a short period of time to lace up the skates with elite level talent from around the SMFAAAHL. Hobson said that once the Saskatchewan jersey was on, it was surprising how fast they clicked. Members from the Saskatoon Stars, Regina Rebels, Melville Prairie Fire, Notre Dame Hounds and Swift Current Wildcats came together for the sixth place finish.

The Wheaties won their opener to team Atlantic 3-0, while Hobson registered an assist on the teams’ opening goal of the tournament. From there, they dropped close games to Ontario Red, Ontario Blue and Alberta.

“We’re the smaller province,” Hobson said.

“We’re not expected to win, we’re the underdogs … I don’t think we’re respected as much as we should be and when we did play Ontario this year we gave them a pretty good run for their money.”

Saskatchewan lost out to Ontario Red 5-3 for a shot at a medal round.

The experience was like no other for Hobson and her teammates, who repeatedly showcased their ability in front of the handful of team Canada scouts in attendance. In the future, Hobson wants her shot at wearing the maple leaf on the big stage — the Olympics.