Even two weeks later, Shailynn Snow was finding it a bit hard to believe she had realized a lifelong dream of playing for Canada in international hockey.
Last month, the 17-year-old from Clarke’s Beach appeared in two games for the Canadian women’s under-18 team in an exhibition series against their American counterparts as part of Hockey Canada’s Summer Showcase, which also involved a similar series between the women’s development teams of both countries.
“It was a dream come true. I’ve been looking forward to that moment ever since I was a little girl,” said Snow about stepping onto the ice for the first time wearing a jersey with the maple leaf.
The games against the United States came immediately after a selection camp, where Snow had been a standout, collecting two goals and two assists in three intrasquad matches.
“I felt like my camp series was one of my better performances,” said Snow, adding she had been “relieved and excited,” to learn she had made the roster for the exhibition games.
Against the Americans, Snow was held off the scoresheet, and she admitted the speed and skill level of the games versus the U.S. were definitely higher than she had ever experienced. Still, Snow felt she was able to keep up with the pace and she felt good about her performance overall, especially since she was used as a centre; she normally plays at right wing.
Snow prefers the wing — either right or left — but knows versatility could help her realize her dream of making Canada’s team for the 2019 world under-18 women’s championship.
“I’m not really a centreman, but if that’s what they need me to play, then I’m happy to play (there),” she said.
The team for the world U18 tourney, which will be held in Japan in early January, has yet to be selected. The August camp and exhibition games were steps in the process which will continue with Hockey Canada monitoring players over the next few month.
"(Hockey Canada officials) just told me to keep doing what I’m doing. I always try to work on getting better and take little steps every day.”
That has Snow focused on having a strong start to her final season at Ridley College, the Ontario prep school she attends.
“They just told me to keep doing what I’m doing,” Snow says of her exit meeting with Hockey Canada coaches and officials. “I always try to work on getting better and take little steps every day to achieve what goals you set.”
She knows competition for places on the Canadian roster will be stiff, but feels she has a reasonable shot at making it to Japan..
“I figure my chances are pretty good,” said Snow, who is committed to play on a full scholarship at St. Lawrence College in Canton, N.Y., beginning in the fall of 2019.
“Then again, it all depends on how I play in the fall, so I’m definitely going to work my hardest.”
In her quest, she’s enjoyed the support of her family, many of whom cheered her on in Calgary. Her mother Connie Mugford and grandfather Ernie Mugford both travelled there for the series and were joined by other relatives living in Alberta.
“It was a nice feeling having family and fans that I knew up in the stands,” said Snow, who also had what could be described as another Newfoundland role model in Calgary.
That was Maggie Connors of St. John’s, who played for the Canadian women’s development team during the other part of the Showcase Series.
Connors won a bronze medal with the national under-18 team at the world championship in Russia last January, but will turn 18 next month, meaning she has graduated to the development program, used to identify players who could be part of the national team program during the Olympic cycle leading up to the 2022 Beijing Winter Games.
Like Snow, Connors has been attending a prep school, but has graduated from Shattuck-St. Mary’s in Faribault Minn., and is beginning her collegiate academic and varsity hockey career at Princeton University this fall.
With files from The Telegram