Essex athlete ready to play hockey during Ontario Summer Games

Brooke Campbell, who was selected to play hockey during the Ontario Summer Games in London this August, played hockey with EMHA for years. She stands before a collection of memorabilia.

by Sylene Argent

13-year-old Essex native Brooke Campbell was recently selected as one of around 160 youth hockey players who will play in a tournament during the Ontario Summer Games in London, Ontario this August.

  A few weeks ago, the local athlete, who plays centre, tried-out for the youth under 16 competition in Toronto through an Ontario Women’s Hockey Association identification camp. Similar try-outs were also held in Ottawa.

  At the identification camps, the girls were divided into teams, which allowed representatives of the tournament to select the girls that would make the Ontario Summer Games tournament. The girls, Campbell said, were selected based on their on-ice skills, but also were evaluated on how they communicated and socialized with the rest of the team.

  The hockey tournament will be one event offered during the Ontario Summer Game, which she described as a “mini-Olympics.” In addition to the hockey tournament, summer events will also take place, she said.

  “I was a little surprised,” Campbell said of making the tournament. She noticed many of the other girls who tried-out were bigger and older than she was.

  Campbell has a lot of on-ice experience, however. She played with the Essex Minor Hockey Association (EMHA) for many years, before joining the all-female league, the Chatham Outlaws in Bantam A. She will play for the Chatham Outlaws in Midget AA this fall.

  “It makes me happy to play. It makes me want to smile. It is fun,” Campbell said, who admits her greatest strength on the ice is her speed. She got involved with the sport in her youth. Her dad used to take her skating all the time, and the family is one that cheers on the Toronto Maple Leafs. “I grew to love it.”

  She is especially excited to learn from a new group of coaches at the upcoming tournament.

submitted photo

  She has been training with Andy Paquette for around five years, who was one of the many great coaches she said she has had the opportunity to learn from over her on-ice career to date. She said it can be challenging to develop as a player. One almost needs to be uncomfortable when learning something new. Eventually, with a lot of hard work, that new shot or play will start to feel normal.

  Recently, Campbell returned home after competing in an international world select tournament in Italy.

  She said the international competition included teams from all over the world. She said it was an amazing experience to watch the other players who skated and played with different styles of hockey. The tournament even hosted an opportunity that mixed up players from different countries. She is still in contact with a player she befriended at the competition, who was from France.

© 2020 The Essex Free Press ltd.

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