Fruitvale native Camryn Haines is gearing up for a return trip to the Canadian National Field Hockey Championships in Toronto this week.
Haines was selected to the U18 Team BC as a 15-year-old last year and is looking forward to the challenge of competing against the country’s best at the Nationals again this year, but this time with a little more experience.
“It’s different, because I’m not the youngest one on the team anymore so it’s definitely different,” said Haines. “But I’m excited because it was so much fun last year and I’m even more ready to play.”
The 16-year-old J. L. Crowe field hockey player helped the Hawks complete an impressive season on the pitch. The Hawks went 26-4-1, with Camryn scoring 57 goals in 31 games that included two Okanagan tournaments and three on the Lower Mainland, as well as local matches against L.V. Rogers and Stanley Humphries.
The Hawks went 3-3 to finish sixth in provincials, a respectable showing considering the calibre of competition from Vancouver Island and the Lower Mainland. But the highlight for Haines was winning gold at the Calgary Dinos Ladies Field Hockey Tournament in May where the forward was named MVP.
Crowe Hawks’ coach Donna Hebert has been a driving force behind Camryn’s development, recognizing her skill and determination early and helping the young talent every step of the way, including preparation for this year’s Team BC.
“My J. L. Crowe coach, she’s been training me every day,” said Camryn. “We’ve been on this set program that my B.C. coach has given us and she really helps me train at home. She helps me tons, and if it wasn’t for her I wouldn’t be here.”
During the winter, Camryn also travelled to Kelowna every weekend to practice, until her mid-April selection to Team BC. Since then, it’s been a flight to Vancouver every week to train with the Lions squad, one of three teams from BC attending the Nationals.
After a surprising amount of playing time in helping Team BC Lions to the bronze medal game at the Nationals in Vancouver last year, Camryn says her role will likely change.
“I’m still not the oldest, but I’ve got experience so I think I will be expected to be a bigger leader out there.”
Camryn enters Grade 12 this year, and hopes to continue playing field hockey at University after graduation. She was invited to the University of Victoria in March to practice with the Vikings team, meet with the coaches, and tour the school, and, while impressed, she is weighing her options.
As for the Nationals, Camryn firmly believes a better result is in store for this year’s Team BC Lions.
“We’re looking really strong, so that’s good,” said Haines. “There’s a lot of younger girls, 16, but they’re super good. We have a really strong team this year, I’m more confident and I think we’ll do better, for sure.”
The U18 Nationals start on July 17 with a nine-team round robin to open the tournament. Team BC Lions play their first game on opening day against PEI at 8 a.m. ET, followed by an evening tilt against Ontario W at 8:15 p.m.
The Lions continue play on July 18 with matches against Quebec and Ontario C, before playoffs on July 19 and 20.