WILLIAMSBURG – A South Dundas hockey player is heading to Europe as part of an elite group of female hockey players taking on international teams from Russia, Canada, Sweden, and six other teams.
Kloe Lewis, a 12 year old player from Williamsburg, will play for the US-based International Select Hockey team at the World Selects Hockey Invitational tournament. It will be hosted in France and Italy in April.
“It is such a great opportunity for her,” said her father, Andy.
“It is expensive, but many in the community have helped with this and it is appreciated,” he added.
Kloe’s road to the select team started in Niagara Falls, New York for tryouts.
“I learned about the Selects team from a friend who played for them last year,” Kloe said. “Before being invited to tryout, you have to give them like a resume of who’ve you played for, what coaches you’ve worked with, and what tournaments you’ve been to.”
Kloe received an invitation to try out before Christmas and ventured with her family to Niagara Falls University on New Year’s Eve.
“There were three days, with groups in each,” said Andy.
Kloe received word from the organization she had made the team in early February.
“I was excited. I am excited. I’m a bit nervous too, going to this,” Kloe said.
Kloe started skating with the CanSkate program at the Morrisburg Arena, and began playing hockey with the South Dundas Minor Hockey Association.
“I played up until Peewee with the Lions before moving to RSL,” she said.
Kloe is a forward with the Rideau-St. Lawrence Thunder, playing at the Bantam A level.
“I should be in my second year of Peewee but I tried out for the Bantam team and made it.”
This season, the Thunder played in the playdowns for the provincial tournament but missed after losing to the Cornwall Typhoons.
When asked why choose hockey, Kloe said she didn’t have just one answer.
“I love the sport, I love to be active. After I started playing I fell in love with it.”
Outside of hockey, Kloe is active in school sports all year round. Last fall she competed with the Seaway Intermediate cross-country racing team with top finishes in the school leagues. She also played volleyball over the winter and with the school’s co-ed intermediate hockey team. Kloe was able to play on Seaway’s high school girls hockey team in the recent Dundas Cup challenge against North Dundas. And soon she will be trying out for the badminton team.
“I have really good hand-eye coordination, which works well for that sport, like hockey” Kloe said.
In the spring she plans on trying out for the track-and-field team. During the summer months, when not playing hockey, she plays soccer and baseball. When asked what her ultimate goal was with the sport of hockey, she said she wanted to play for the Canadian national women’s hockey team.
“I want to play in the Olympics,” Kloe said.
She also has an eye on a future in sports training or sports medicine as a career.
“For now though, I want to take any opportunities I can in hockey,” she said. “This opportunity is helping me get closer to my dream of playing for the Canadian [Olympic] team.”
This is not the only opportunity for Kloe with the Selects team. She has also earned an invitation to an prospects tournament in August in Nashville.
“Many NCAA coaches work with the players at the tournament,” said Andy. He added that 17 past or current members of the US women’s Olympic hockey team have been through the Selects program.
Kloe will leave April 13th for the first leg of the International Selects tournament.