The Vancouver Island Seals captain, Maryna Macdonald, 16, was named to the first allstar team at the boxing day Mac’s tournament in Calgary.
“I couldn’t have done it without my team for sure,” she said. “The way the team played and the way we came together throughout the whole tournament it was really a whole team effort.”
The Seals met some tough teams in the tournament, but Maryna said they gave them a run for their money.
“We did a lot better than we thought we would,” she said. “When you play teams that push you, it pushed you to just keep getting better.”
Macdonald lives in Port Alberni for most of the year, but during the hockey season she lives in Campbell River.
The Seals are on the ice every morning, and doing dry land training three evenings a week as well as practicing in Nanaimo with the entire team on Wednesday evenings.
“The anytime we have outside of my team I spend on homework,” Macdonald said. “ It’s kind of just school and hockey and eating and that’s kind of my schedule.”
Macdonald started playing hockey when her family moved to Port Alberni. In the town where she grew up there was no arena, but, after watching her older cousin on the ice, she dreamed of playing.
“The day we move to Port Alberni, that’s when I stepped on the ice, we hadn’t even moved into our house yet,” she said.
She made her way through Minor Hockey playing on boys rep teams, full contact.
“I think it really pushed me, it made me stronger in the girls game for sure,” she said. “I was able to take the body a little more, take the little hits and stuff. It made me quick and fast, it helped me improve my game because you are competing with strong big guys. It helped my game a lot.”
Her first year playing on a girls team was her first year playing for the Seals-last season.
So far Macdonald’s hard work is paying off.
After four rounds of tryouts, she represented Team B.C. at the U18 Women’s Nationals Tournament in Regina in November. The team brought home the bronze medal. Macdonald said it was an amazing experience and she hopes to play again next year.
“You can see the team Canada scouts in the stands and of course that is always the goal,” she said.
Despite only being in Grade 11, Macdonald already has the next step of her hockey, and academic, career planned out.
Harvard scouted her last year while the team was playing at a tournament in Washington DC.
She said the team did unbelievable in the tournament, finishing second, and that was when the scouts approached her, “You played great and we want to see you at our school.”
Macdonald flew out to see the campus in April, and she fell in love.
“It was pretty obvious to me that that was where I wanted to go,” she said.
She believes it will be a great opportunity for her academically, as well as for her hockey career-the head coach at Harvard also coaches the USA Women’s hockey team.
Though Macdonald has committed to Harvard, there is no time to rest. She has already taken the SAT once, and she is taking it again later this month.
“They kind of just want me to take it as many times as I can so I am familiar with it and each time I’ll get better,” she said.
And she does it all to be more like her older cousin. Though she looks up to the women playing for Team Canada, her real inspiration comes from him.
“He’s been such a great role model for me just because he pushes himself so hard and he has such a good drive and it just makes me want to be like him, to aspire to be always pushing yourself to your limits and never looking back kind of thing,” she said.