Holt nets Team Alberta berth

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In the fast lane - Bashaw’s Jessyka Holt (11) of the Warner Warriors participates in World Girls’ Hockey Day in Calgary on Oct. 2. Holt has been chosen to Team Alberta for the Canadian under-18 women’s hockey championship

JOHN MACNEIL

Independent editor

Jessyka Holt of Bashaw can add another trip to her hockey calendar for this season.

Holt, 16, was among 20 players named to Team Alberta last week for the Canadian under-18 women’s championship Nov. 2-6 in Saguenay, Que.

“The coaches called us, and I was really excited,” said Holt, who was in her Warner Hockey School residence when she received news of her selection to the provincial team.

“There was a lot of good players (trying out), so I was nervous about it. I didn’t know, for sure, if I was going to make it or not.”

Holt, a Grade 11 forward in her second year at Warner, plays in an elite program with her school team. The club travels throughout Canada and the U.S., including a trip to Boston this past weekend.

Including two of Holt’s Alberta teammates, about half of her Warner team will be represented at the under-18 nationals, a high-level competition.

“It’s going to be really tough, but you get used to it,” said Holt, a five-foot-four, 144-pound right-winger.

“After a couple of games, you’ll be good.”

Holt and her Alberta teammates have already become familiar with each other. They attended the provincial tryout camps together and they’ve seen each other during their minor hockey days.

“I know quite a few of them,” Holt said during a Montreal stopover en route to Boston last Thursday.

“I’ve played with a couple of them, and I’ve played against some of them. At the last camp, we were getting along quite well.”

Holt comes from a hockey family, and she believes it was natural for her to play the sport.

“It was family, for sure, that influenced me most,” she said. “Because my dad played and my brother played … I wanted to be just like my brother, so I started playing hockey.”

Her brother Nicholas, 18, graduated from midget last season, but older sisters Karley, 19, and Ashley, 21, remain active in hockey. Ashley is in her fourth year at Grant MacEwan University in Edmonton, while Karley is a member of the Penhold-based Central Alberta Amazons in the provincial junior female league.

Holt’s parents, Robin and Jackie, plan to watch their youngest daughter at the under-18 nationals in Quebec.

“It’s something you don’t really want to miss,” said her mother, Jackie.

“Jessyka has worked very hard to achieve all her hockey success.”

On that hockey road, she left home before her Grade 10 year to play hockey at Warner.

“It’s been very tough,” Jackie said. “It’s not very often you send a 15-yearold girl away, but when she wants to achieve some of her dreams, you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do.”

Holt wanted to be challenged in a hockey-centered environment where the players are on the ice daily.

“It’s a really good experience,” she said. “I came here for the coaching, and a better hockey level.”

“You’re always excited for the next day — to have something new come along and learn something new every day.”

Holt scored three goals through nine exhibition games with the Warner Warriors, who were slated to begin their Junior Women’s Hockey League schedule last Friday.

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