There must be a side of me that’s still six years old, but I’m a little starstruck when it comes to female hockey phenoms. Here’s a photo of me accepting a “Most Passionate Player” award from Sarah Vaillancourt of Team Canada at a Canadian Hockey Enterprises recreational women’s camp last year in Peterborough, ON. Sarah was one of our coaches.
Skating on the same ice surface as Sarah was a thrill. During our warm-up, Sarah would fly around and take shots for the fun of it, and her skill gave me goosebumps. Her joy at being on the ice was contagious, even if being on the ice meant coaching novice-level adults.
Sarah gave us advice on offensive positioning that has changed my game. I learned that on a rush, it’s not ideal to take the puck up the centre of the ice. It’s better to skate along the boards and look for the second forward (F2) to be open for the pass. F2 goes to the net and F3 should hang back and stay open at the point or the high slot. Thanks to Sarah’s tips, I’ve had more scoring chances in my recreational old ladies’ beer league.
I was impressed that Sarah got frustrated with us. It meant that she actually cared. She was taking us seriously enough that when we weren’t getting it right, it bothered her. That speaks to the character and dedication in young Canadian players.
Check back for a profile of Sarah Vaillancourt on “Her Hockey” in the next few days.