A rising star

Darcy MacRae
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Hockey player Sarah Davis a pleasure to watch

Sarah Davis searches for the puck while playing for the Plaintiffs in Doug Marshall Hockey League action in St. Johns on Thursday. Davis, 15, was recently named to the Atlantic under-18 girls hockey team that will take part in the 2007 national championsh

Sarah Davis is a name hockey fans in this province will want to remember.
Chances are, she's going to be talked about a fair bit over the next few years as she continues to develop the skills that have made her one of the top young female hockey players in Atlantic Canada.
"Sarah is an all-round player," said Chris Whelan, who has coached Davis at various levels of hockey, including last winter's Canada Games team, since she started playing the game at age seven. "Put it this way - once she increases her foot speed, she's national-team quality ... She can see the game well, she just thinks the game so well and has a great set of hands."
Locally, Davis plays for the Holy Spirit high school boys' team and for the Plaintiffs in the Doug Marshall AAA Midget Hockey League. She is the only girl playing in either league, and is the first female to play regularly in the Doug Marshall circuit. She's also one of only a few 15-year-olds to suit up in the Doug Marshall league this season, although none of these accomplishments surprises Whelan.
"She's physically strong enough to tolerate the physical play," said Whelan. "It's a pleasure to watch the girl play hockey. Off the ice, she is very coachable, committed and is passionate about the game. She's well-liked and respected by her teammates and maturity is never an issue with Sarah. She served as an assistant captain (for the Newfoundland and Labrador entry at the recent Atlantic Challenge Cup) in Moncton even though she was 15. The other players are older than her, but a lot of them still looked up to Sarah. She's just a great kid."
The Paradise resident was ranked as one of the top three players at the Atlantic Challenge Cup, an under-18 event. Her performance earned her a spot on the Team Atlantic squad that will compete at the national U18 championship in Kitchener, Ont., from Nov. 7 to 11.
"I'm really excited (about playing for Team Atlantic)," said Davis. "I think they have high expectations for us."
Davis hasn't been told what role she'll play in Kitchener, but chances are she'll be a major contributor for the Atlantic all-stars. The event will also give her another chance to showcase her skills to watchful national team scouts.
Davis has already participated in two camps with the national under-18 team, having travelled to Calgary in May for a dryland training session and returning to Cowtown in July for on-ice tryouts. She didn't make the team, but just earning an invite as a 15-year-old is an accomplishment all by itself.
"I was a little intimidated at the on-ice camp," Davis said. "There were players there from Ontario and British Columbia, really big provinces and I was there from little Newfoundland."
Davis has two more years of eligibility to play for the U18 team and admits cracking the club's roster is a goal of hers. She also has her sights set on some day playing for the national women's team, even it takes her another five to ten years to do it.
"It definitely is (a goal), but I'm try to keep it all in perspective. I'm trying just to take things one step at a time," said Davis.
Davis' on-ice abilities have also caught the attention of university scouts south of the border. Whelan said he has been contacted by more than one American university and as far as he's concerned, Davis won't have to pay a cent for her education if she doesn't want to.
"She'll definitely get a full ride somewhere," Whelan said.
"There are a few schools asking about her already, but they can't approach her yet. It's a full two years before they can talk to her."
Davis said she's interested in hearing what the American schools have to say, but she's not entirely convinced playing in the U.S. is what she wants.
"I definitely want a scholarship, get my university paid for. But I'm thinking more about playing in Canada. I'm afraid I'm going to get home sick," said Davis.

Organizations: Canada Games, Doug Marshall AAA Midget Hockey League, Team Atlantic

Geographic location: Atlantic Canada, Newfoundland and Labrador, Kitchener Moncton Calgary Ontario British Columbia U.S.

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