Up against the nation’s best for Grand Falls-Windsor Special Olympian
GRAND FALLS-WINDSOR, NL — Earning a spot on the Newfoundland and Labrador contingent to the Canada Summer Games doesn’t happen by luck.
Shailynn Snow one of 50 under-18 players on national team's radar
Ridley Tigers forward Shailynn Snow displays a puck honouring her 100th point of the year playing for the prep school in St. Catherines, Ont.
ST. CATHERINES, ON — Shailynn Snow hasn't been shy about her dream of one day tugging on a jersey bearing the maple leaf to represent Canada at the Olympics.
It's something the 15-year-old from Clarke's Beach told The Compass about last fall while she was in the midst of playing her first season of hockey away from home at Ridley College in St. Catherines, Ont.
Following an extremely successful season of hockey, Team Canada is showing some legitimate interest in the high-scoring forward. She'll be one of 50 under-18 players attending a Hockey Canada women's strength and conditioning camp in Hamilton next month.
A Hockey Canada news release calls this camp the initial step in preparing the 2017-18 under-18 squad.
Snow's mother, Connie Mugford, received an email from Melody Davidson, general manager of the national women's team programs, informing her about Shailynn's invitation to the camp.
"I didn't know if it was real or not at first," Snow said when asked about her reaction to the news.
"This has been a dream of Shailynn's," her mother Connie told The Compass. "Shailynn's got natural ability, but she also works hard to get where she's gotten … I'm happy for her, I'm excited for her, and I just hope she does well."
To be among the invites as a 15-year-old is quite the accomplishment, but considering her results this season, Snow's inclusion at the camp shouldn't come as a surprise. Playing in the eight-team Junior Women's Hockey League for under-19 players, Snow was a dominant force.
In 24 regular season games she collected a league-leading 28 goals and 48 points, leading her team and finishing second overall in the latter category. Snow was a first-team all-star in the league. For the entire season, taking into account weekend tournaments, Snow surpassed the 100-point mark.
Heading into the season, her goal was to simply fit in with the team and gain more experience playing at a higher level competitively.
"I loved it up there," she said. "We became closer within the first two weeks."
Snow is the only Ridley Tiger who will be at the camp, though she knows at least a couple of other girls who will be attending, including St. John's native Maggie Connors.
With a lot of hockey played over the last number of years, Snow is quick to credit many people back home who have helped her get this far, including her mother, grandfather Ernie Mugford, and coaches Randy Pearcey, Andrew McKim, Bo Bennett and Craig Mercer.
Her season concluded last month, and since then Snow has largely focused on dry-land training, though she still skates once or twice a week.
There will be no on-ice sessions for the camp in Hamilton. Instead, Hockey Canada personnel will work with the players on dry-land training, fitness-testing, and physical and mental preparation. Beyond Hamilton, Snow hopes to earn an invite to the second camp in Calgary.
An additional 30 development-aged players born from 1996-1999 will also take part in the camp.
The first year away from home has taken some getting used to, with Snow also needing to make plenty of time for her schoolwork.
"There's definitely been times where you struggle, like where they pile on more work when you're away (playing), but overall it's been good," Snow said, adding she manages to look after some of her studies while travelling to games.
With exams finishing in mid-June, Snow will continue training through the summer before returning to Ridley College in the fall.