A young girl from the Shuswap is making her mark on the ice after a summer spent training with the junior A Salmon Arm Silverbacks helped her land a spot on a regional major midget female team.
Teagan Webster found a passion for hockey at a young age, starting out in the sport in Grade 2 after watching her older brother on the ice.
Eight years later she is still going strong and blazing a trail up the ranks of girls’ hockey in B.C.
“My dad was really into hockey and he really wanted my older brother to play so he joined and I watched a lot of his games and I was like, well if he can do it then so can I,” Webster says of her introduction to the sport.
While she boasts a multi-sport athletic portfolio, including soccer, basketball, volleyball and swimming, her passion for hockey has lasted the test of time so far and it remains her favourite sport by far.
“It just has always been so fun to me and I always enjoyed so much about it, I love every moment on the ice,” she says.
“I guess it was just kind of what I found a passion for. It’s just everything, I love everything about it.”
Over the spring and summer of this year the promising right-winger joined the Salmon Arm Silverbacks junior A players and coaching staff at several of the Shuswap Elite Hockey Academy’s skills development camps in Salmon Arm, training with some of the highest level hockey talent in B.C.
While the camps were a great experience for Webster, the young female skater certainly made quite the impression on the Silverbacks as well.
“I think she started coming to our camps back in late March and we saw how dedicated she was and she trained as hard as anyone we saw this summer,” says Brooks Christensen, operations manager for the Silverbacks.
“She was skating with our junior guys, working out with our junior guys, we gave her the option to train with kids more her age or other girls and she wanted to skate and train with our guys and you know we really respected that.”
Christensen notes it wasn’t just him who quickly saw the passion and dedication Webster displayed for the sport.
“It went right through to the other players that were skating, they really respected what she was doing and how much time she was putting in.
“I know that relayed right down to our staff like Scott (Atkinson) and Brett (Knowles); they really saw how dedicated she was over the summer,” he says.
For Webster, the skills camps over the summer proved to be an excellent experience and a great chance at some one-on-one training focused on her skills.
Beyond the skills training she received at the camps, Webster says she left with a newfound sureness in her abilities.
“The camps were so fun, I had such an amazing time there. They helped make me confident and I felt really confident with my skill level and how I played hockey at the camps,” she says.
“There were a bunch of other hockey players there, older than me and more experienced, and they were all so supportive and so encouraging and such good role models.”
Webster also had a chance to showcase some of that confidence and new skills by serving as a coach during female ‘Breakaway to Score’ sessions with the Shuswap Elite Hockey Academy.
“That was so fun, it was a different perspective on it and I learned a lot through that too,” she says.
Despite being one of the only female players out at these camps, Webster says she never felt out of place.
“I was the only girl for most of my camps but I never felt unwelcome. They always made me feel really welcomed and like I belonged there,” she says.
After the skills camps were over a whole new hockey opportunity presented itself to Webster when she qualified to join the Thompson-Okanagan Major Midget AAA Lakers female team, based out of Vernon.
“Last year I tried out but I was an underage, but this year it was really something I wanted for myself. I really wanted to make the team,” Webster says.
“It felt so good. I think making the team felt so much better because I had worked up to it. It made me feel really good.”
Perhaps as a testament to her hard work over the summer, Webster earned the MVP award in her first tournament with her new teammates at the Calgary Firestarter Tournament.
“The first few games were way different than what I am used to, but the last two games I felt so good out there. I felt like I belonged,” she says.
While a little hesitant to set lofty goals for her first full season with the Lakers, Webster does have a bright vision of the future ahead of her in the world of hockey.
“Maybe not for this year but I really want to get committed to university and play post-secondary,” she says. But I think this year is just about getting used to the league and hopefully doing some constant improvement.”