Fitness and skill propel girls to U16 Island squad

Three Campbell River hockey players selected to play with Team Vancouver Island at the B.C. Cup

Campbell River’s Olivia Knowles (from left)

Just call ‘em the “Three Rink Amigas.”

Campbell River’s Lisa Lloyd, 14, her cousin Olivia Knowles, 13, and Maddy Devlin, 14, all worked hard to earn spots on the girls U16 Vancouver Island Team.

“I’m excited. It’s going to be a good experience and I’ve never played girls hockey before,” says Knowles.

Knowles and Devlin are the only two girls on the Campbell River bantam A Tyees squad while Lloyd plays for the Hurricanes bantam girls team. The trio came together on Jan. 5-6, in Nanaimo, to try out for the Island team.

What they demonstrated to the coaches – in addition to their skating, shooting and passing skills – was a very high level of fitness. The trio scored some of the best fitness scores among the 45 girls trying out for the team, with Devlin scoring the highest in the challenging BEEP test.

The left winger has the most hockey experience of the trio – 10 years – and for the last three years she’s played on Team Pacific, a spring time team which has travelled to Minnesota, Toronto and Montreal. This year the team will be heading to Chicago and Boston.

Knowles is a stalwart defender with good offensive skills. She was among the top players at the tryout camp and chipped in with a beauty goal in one of the scrimmages.

Lloyd, a right winger, gives up a couple inches in height to her teammates, but makes up for it with grit and hustle.

All three are thrilled to be part of the Island squad which will play other zone teams from around the province at the B.C. Cup, to be held in Duncan, April 4-7.

“I know most of my teammates from spring hockey and I’m looking forward to meeting other players,” said Devlin.

Hockey is foremost in their hearts, but it’s not the only sports played by these three young ladies. Knowles competes in track and field and also plays basketball and volleyball, Devlin runs cross country, and Lloyd plays basketball, volleyball and soccer.

More importantly, they devote as much time to sport as they do to school. All three are straight-A students; Knowles is in Grade 8 at Phoenix School, while Devlin and Lloyd are in Grade 9 at Timberline and Carihi respectively.

And just when you thought her young life couldn’t get any busier, Lloyd also volunteers coaching the young girls at the Rod Brind’Amour Arena.

“You see more and more girls trying it out. There’s a lot more younger girls liking the sport,” she says.

In addition to the trio making the team, both forward Cassidy Bellavance and goalie Jadylin Spooner were named as alternates to the Island squad. Both girls play for the Campbell River Hurricanes.