Burns Lake girls play for Team B.C. hockey

Locals, Cassie Sam and Jasmine Tom mean business when it comes to hockey.

L-R) Team mates: Jasmine Tom

L-R) Team mates: Jasmine Tom

Locals, Cassie Sam and Jasmine Tom mean business when it comes to hockey.

The two girls recently travelled to the Team B.C. tryouts in Merrit and were selected to play on the team in the 2011 National Aboriginal Hockey Championships competition held in Saskatoon last month.

Being selected to play for the elite team is an honour that both Cassie and Jasmine say they are proud of.

At just 19 years of age, Cassie is already a hockey veteran. She has played hockey since she was 12 years old, starting out with the Burns Lake Minor Hockey Association’s local league.

She was also previously chosen to play on the AAA girls major midget Prince George team as part of the AAA league which showcases the top female talent in B.C. at the midget level, the Northwest representative team and has played for the Burns Lake women’s Vortex. On the ice Cassie packs a punch and is not afraid to chase down the puck. She prefers to play competitive hockey for and against boys teams as the games are played at a faster pace.

“It’s hard to play AAA hockey, then go down [a level] and play for the Vortex, the games are much slower,” she said.

Jasmine is equally passionate about hockey, she began to play in the Burns Lake Minor Hockey Association’s league at the age of 10. She now plans to follow in Cassie’s footsteps and has her sights set on playing for the AAA girls major midgets.

According to Cassie, 26 girls aged between 13 and 20 turned up for the Team B.C. tryouts in April, all hoping to be chosen as one of the 17 players on the team.

“I played over age,” said Cassie, who explained that the girls who are 19 and 20 years old are considered over age. “Each team is only allowed five players that are aged 19 or 20,” she added.

As part of Team B.C. both girls travelled to Kamloops to meet the team and practice, then travelled to Saskatoon as a team by bus for the championships.

During the competition Team B.C. played teams from Alberta, Saskatoon, Quebec, Manitoba and the Northwest Territories from April 20 to May 1.

Cassie scored four goals, had two assists and was named as the game star [best player on the team] in the game against Quebec.

Jasmine also played well during the championships with four assists to her credit.

“I really tried hard in the game against Quebec, they were the team we had to beat as they were last years undefeated team,” Cassie said.

Team B.C. tied the game against Quebec 1-1.

“They [Quebec team] were all over Cassie, she’s really good,” said Jasmine.

Team B.C. girls lost against Alberta 0-3, tied 1-1 against Quebec, lost 3-5 against Manitoba, won 6-3 against the Northwest Territories and lost 2-7 against Saskatoon coming in fifth overall from seven teams.

“The referee was really one sided in the Saskatoon game,’ said Jasmine.

“It was frustrating, he was not making any calls against Saskatoon so they ended up winning by a lot,” Cassie agreed.

“Team B.C. did not have a team for the last two years so we started the competition ranked last and had to play top seeded teams,” Cassie said.

While gold, silver and bronze medals were given to the top three teams, Cassie and Jasmine said the experience of playing on the team was reward enough.

They also received Team B.C., sweaters and jackets and got to keep their Team B.C. team hockey jerseys.

“It was great fun and a really good experience,” Jasmine said adding that she plans to try out for the team again next year.

Cassie also plans to try out next year. She will be 20 years old then and it will be the last year she is eligible.

Not planning to give up on hockey quite yet, Cassie said she will also be trying out for Calgary State College to play for their hockey team.

“I’ll play a few more years of competitive hockey and see what happens from there.”