Brooke Noseworthy is in her second season as a member of the Gold 1 Under-19 female hockey team at the Ontario Hockey Academy. ‚ÄĒ Submitted photo
ST. ANTHONY Brooke Noseworthy has gotten used to being away from family and friends, but she has no regrets when she sees positive signs in her development as a budding female hockey player.
Noseworthy, a 16-year-old native of St. Anthony, is enjoying a relaxing break from the daily grind at the Ontario Hockey Academy where she has been honing her hockey skillset for the past two years.
‚ÄúI found that I‚Äôve gotten better. Even smarts wise, I feel I am a smarter player now,‚ÄĚ Noseworthy said while home for the holidays.
Noseworthy, a member of the Gold 1 Under-19 female hockey team at the academy, is embracing a chance to spend the holidays with family and friends for almost a month. She spent her time hanging out with friends catching up on the news, but also got a few skates in while home and also had a blast playing in an annual 4-on-4 hockey tournament in nearby Pigeon Cove over the break.
While it‚Äôs nice to get away from a hectic life at the academy, Noseworthy knows she will have to work hard in the second half to improve her stock with the team. She needs to be a smart two-way player, but she admits she‚Äôs playing more of a defensive role and that‚Äôs just fine with her.
She has been getting her fair share of ice-time, but that‚Äôs been the norm for all hands, according to Noseworthy. She has been playing on a number of different lines in the first half of the season as coach Giles Lascelle does some experimenting in an effort to find some lethal combinations.
‚ÄúHe‚Äôs just trying to see who works good together sho he‚Äôs been switching up the lines a lot,‚ÄĚ she said.
The Ontario Hockey Academy is a specialized, private boarding school in Cornwall, Ont. where a total of 135 hockey players from 16 countries, both male and female, suit up for one of seven teams operating under the logo.
Teams representing the OHA don‚Äôt participate in any league. They play 60-70 games per season with participation solely focused on showcase events and university tournaments for the purpose of providing elite female hockey players with exposure to the movers and shakers in the female hockey world. It involves a couple of practices every week and weekend winters is usually hectic with participation in big tournaments throughout Canada and the United States.
It is a hockey atmosphere that she‚Äôs learning to embrace more and more each day knowing she is developing her skillset with everything at her fingertips to take her game to an even higher level.
‚ÄúMy focus when I get back is to work on the little things I have to worry about like where to be and how to get in the open,‚ÄĚ she said.
Looking at how things have unfolded in the first half, Noseworthy sees a lot of promise because she sees the girls slowly finding themselves on the same page.
‚ÄúOur team is improving. We‚Äôre starting to get comfortable playing with each other now. At the beginning we weren‚Äôt as used to each other,‚ÄĚ‚Äąshe said.
In a handful of days or so, Noseworthy knows she has to shift gears and begin living and breathing the game once again.
‚ÄúEvery shift I‚Äąknow I have to try my hardest and help my teammates,‚ÄĚ‚Äąshe said of her focus for the balance of her sophomore season.
Of course, leaving behind her family and close friends is a difficult task for her and there‚Äôs still some challenges with adjusting to life without family and friends close by.
‚ÄúObviously, it‚Äôs still hard to be away from home, but you start to get used to it,‚ÄĚ she said. ‚ÄúIt was hard at first, but you just have to make time for your hockey and make time for your studying too.‚ÄĚ
She has no regrets. She made the journey with the ultimate goal of becoming a better player and she has seen enough already to know she‚Äôs in a great spot to forge ahead with her dream of one day suiting up for Team Canada‚Äôs national women‚Äôs team on the Olympic stage.
Anything is possible if you dream big enough.