From left, Cherie Piper(Coach of Team White - she is a 3-time Olympic Gold Medalist with Team Canada!), Kamryn Oddan, and Angela James (Coach of Team Blue - Gold Medalist on Team Canada 1990 at the first official world championship - she was inducted in to the Hockey Hall of Fame, and is considered the "Wayne Gretzky of Female Hockey"). Photo submitted
Clandonald’s 15-year-old Kamryn Oddan was selected to play in the 2018 International Ice Hockey Federation’s Global Girls’ Game in Mississauga, Ontario on March 11.
A Bantam Forward, Oddan submitted an application answering a dozen questions along with a coach’s recommendation letter. She was one of two Alberta youth selected for the special opportunity.
According to Oddan, a cumulative score was kept as female hockey players from 40 countries participated forming Team White and Team Blue, playing throughout March 10 - 11.
“The first puck was dropped in Auckland, New Zealand. The game moved through Asia, the Middle East, Russia, Europe, and then onto the Americas, finishing in Canada. Upon arrival on March 9, we met Team Canada alumni, like Angela James, Cathy Phillips, Cherie Piper and some great Canadian female role models, like Mandi Duhamel (from Hockey Canada who lead the on-ice skill session), Hazel McCallion (a 97-year-old ex-hockey player and Mayor of Mississauga for 30+ years), and Fran Rider (huge advocate for Women's hockey in Canada and the world, has worked for 30 years on getting female hockey recognized, has been inducted in to the IIHF Hall of Fame in 2015, along with numerous other honours).
On March 10, we took a tour of the Hockey Hall of Fame and Niagara Falls, and also did some team bonding activities. Then on March 11, we had an on-ice skill session with our team and then played the big game later on that day. The final score was 132-126 for Team Blue,” said Oddan.
When asked how playing on a world stage differed from her upbringing in Clandonald, Oddan joked, “Well there are a few more people who live in Toronto, than in Clandonald! It was a pretty incredible feeling that a small town girl like me was able to get selected for the global game, where I got to represent Canada.”
Oddan mentioned that the coaches and chaperones who were there taught her a lot about the game, as well as the importance of leadership and working as a team.
“I learned valuable life lessons, and that confidence plays a huge role in being an athlete and playing a team sport,” said Oddan.
Her favourite part was meeting the girls from all over the country, and being able to represent Alberta, as well as Canada. She also really enjoyed meeting and learning from all of the female hockey role models.
When asked if her experience encouraged her to go on in hockey, Oddan said, “Yes, it has made me want to improve my game and my skills, and at some point, to play a higher level of hockey. It got me even more excited about the game and how it's not just a guy's sport. Girls all around the world are getting excited about it - it is one of the fastest growing sports right now.”
Oddan said she loves hockey because, “The game itself is great physical activity and also builds character; you learn a lot about yourself, and how staying active is important. It's just an awesome sport to play with your teammates, coaches, and parents - and the atmosphere of being on the team is awesome.”
When asked if she experienced any unexpected challenges in packing her equipment for air travel, Oddan said, “Actually no! WestJet is really good about hockey equipment. The bag counts as regular checked baggage and the sticks go through as oversize, but they don't charge for that.”
Oddan recommend for anyone interested in playing minor hockey, to give it a try because she feels that it is a fun team sport, and thinks that many girls could fall in love with the game just like she did. She encourages younger female hockey players to have fun playing the game, and to have fun with their teammates.
“Set goals for yourself, and play the game you love,” said Oddan.
She even went on to congratulate the Vermilion Selte Fuels Atom Female Tigers on winning provincials this past weekend and said, "I am so happy for them.”
“I also really want to send a huge thank you to everyone for their support, Hockey Alberta, Hockey Canada, the Ontario Women's Hockey Association, and the International Ice Hockey Federation for offering this amazing opportunity to all female bantam minor hockey players in Canada. It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity!” said Oddan.