Steffen, Dansereau enjoy national championship experience close to hometowns

Prince Albert hosted the Esso Cup from Apr. 23-29, 2023. Herald file photo.

When Prince Albert played host to the 2023 Esso Cup, it provided a unique experience for Kadence Dansereau of Birch Hills and Melfort’s Danelle Steffen to play for a national title close to their hometowns.

Dansereau, in her rookie season with the Regina Avana Rebels, posted 21 points across 27 games in the Saskatchewan Female U18 AAA Hockey League.

She says she soaked in the experience playing in front of many of her friends and family.

“It’s really special.  I have a lot of family here and it’s something that you don’t get to experience every day. This is my only chance to do it. If it doesn’t come back to Prince Albert, as my years go on and I’m just happy to be here when all my family can be here to watch.”

Dansereau has spent plenty of time at the Art Hauser Centre over the years, whether it was suiting up for the Rebels or coming as a fan to a Prince Albert Raider game.

She says playing in the 2023 Esso Cup was an experience that she will hold onto for many years to come.

“I have a lot of memories of this rink from when I was a child, and I’m glad to be playing here again. It’s the biggest and most special memory I have here, and I’ll keep it forever.”

Regina finished with the bronze medal at the 2023 Esso Cup with a 5-1 win over the Atlantic representative Northern Selects.

For Melfort’s Danelle Steffen, the Esso Cup was her first experience playing at the U18 AAA level. Steffen spent the majority of the season playing at the U15 level for the Prince Albert Ricky’s Foxes where she posted 11 points in 22 games.

Steffen also appeared in two games during the regular season for the Prince Albert Northern Bears, going pointless.

Suiting up for the Bears in the Esso Cup, she says it helped her get valuable experience at the U18 level.

“I get a little taste of the speed and how much pressure there is, so that’ll for sure help me.”

Steffen adds that the atmosphere in the Art Hauser Centre when the Northern Bears took on Regina was something special.

“It’s super nice having everyone come and seeing them all in the crowd. It’s a little more comforting too. The building was packed. Both teams are like rivals, pretty much. They’re going crazy chanting. It was a really cool experience.”