Two lakecity hockey players are preparing to make their return to the BC Hockey Female U18 AAA Northern Capitals in Prince George this fall.
After what proved to be a less than normal 2020/21 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, both Keira Vermeulen and Rachel Loewen said they are eagerly anticipating their return to the ice for their second season with the Capitals.
“It’s going to be exciting,” Loewen, who is entering Grade 11 at Prince George Secondary School, said. “We are looking to be a championship team and compete for the ESSO Cup — that’s our goal.”
Vermeulen is heading into Grade 12 at PGSS and entering her final season of minor hockey with the Capitals, which is coached by Mario Desjardins.
“Mario has been building toward this year’s team and we have some big expectations,” she said. “We had eight (exhibition) games last season, so I’m looking forward to all the bus trips, games, the bonding, the big tournaments, things like that”
Both Loewen, a defenceman, and Vermeulen, a forward, spent their summers in Williams Lake and will be living with billet families in Prince George once the school year and hockey season starts.
The pair honed their skills in the Williams Lake Minor Hockey Association prior to the 2020/21 season.
Desjardins said the team will play a 32-game regular season schedule, but hopes to clock in roughly 50 games including tournaments.
“We’ll be heading to the (Calgary Fire Starter) tournament in September, then a memorial tournament in Regina, and a couple of tournaments in Vancouver,” Desjardins said.
“We’re hoping to do something with the Winter Classic (in Vanderhoof), so there’s lots on the list of potentials, too.”
Desjardins noted both Loewen and Vermeulen will be looked to for leadership this season.
“Keira, coming into her last season of minor hockey, she’s got that personality that certainly is respected by all her teammates, so I definitely look at her as being a leader on the team, and we’ll be looking forward to finding her a university that’s suitable for what she’s looking for this season,” Desjardins said.
“Rachel is going to be a good defenceman for us and worked hard over the summer. She definitely came into camp in great with more confidence this season and we’ll be looking for her to take on a leadership role, as well, and, for both these girls, to put some points on the board. They are both great kids.”