Vernon products with the Thompson Okanagan Zone 2 Under 16 female hockey team

Vernon products with the Thompson Okanagan Zone 2 Under 16 female hockey team

Vernon girls seek medals

Vernon's Jenna Lazar, Brooke Toop and Ali Roine ready to battle for Thompson Okanagan in U16 hockey at B.C. Winter Games.

Anytime Jenna Lazar needs to tweak her game, she watches her brother Curtis with the Western Hockey League Edmonton Oil Kings.

After all, he broke scoring records set by Sidney Crosby and Steven Stamkos in the Canada Winter Games last year in Halifax.

Now it’s Jenna’s turn in the spotlight as she plays for the Thompson Okanagan Zone 2 Under 16 female hockey team in the B.C. Winter Games starting Friday at the Wesbild Centre.

“We watch all his games on TV and sometimes I catch some tips watching him,” said Jenna, a winger who turns 15 in March.

A total of 35 girls attended trials and Lazar, Brooke Toop and Ali Roine were the Vernon players making the grade. Lazar and Roine play on the Salmon Arm SilverTips Midget Rep girls team, while Toop plays Bantam Super League alongside boys.

“They (coaches) said my skating was really strong and I was close with some of my shots,” said Lazar, a Canucks fan and a Grade 9 VSS student who also plays basketball.

She says the Zone 2 team is close thanks to exhibition games, practices and dryland training.

“I think getting everybody together, not just on the ice, has been really good for bonding. We get tested, especially against Kamloops. It’s a very high tempo.”

Toop, who turns 15 in early March, also plays the wing. As a tyke, she got into ballet, but soon switched to hockey as she played outdoor games in Lavington with her dad, Dean, and siblings Blaire and Randall.

She trained on and off the ice since September in hopes of impressing the Zone 2 coaches.

“The coaches liked my attitude and hustle,” said Toop. “Sometimes it’s a challenge with my diabetes because you have to keep it stable.”

Toop, a Pittsburgh Penguins’ fan who also enjoys skiing and dirt biking, finds it rewarding discussing diabetes with youngsters in town.

“Once they are diagnosed, I go to the hospital and pretty much tell them it’s not as bad as it seems. It makes me feel comfortable since I know I’m not the only one with diabetes.”

Toop, a Grade 9 Kal student, gets sponsorship from Animas insulin pumps to attend conferences and compete as an athlete.

Roine, a 14-year-old Grade 9 VSS student, is in her third year of hockey and will play centre as Zone 2 opens the Games against Fraser River-Delta Friday at 9:15 a.m.

“I feel I’m a good skater and a good shooter,” said Roine, who also plays hoops. “I work hard, I’m determined and I pushed myself in the fitness (testing).”

Roine reeled off eight chin-ups, two below the record, and performed the highest two-foot lateral jump of 2.12 feet. When not playing hockey, you can find her running the roads of Lavington year round. She cheers for both the Canucks and Flyers.

Zone 2 will meet the North West in their second Friday game at 8:30 p.m. They finish preliminary play Saturday at 1:45 p.m. versus Vancouver-Squamish.

The semifinals go Saturday night with the medal games scheduled for Sunday at 6:30 and 8:45 a.m.

There are 1,200 athletes and 500 coaches involved in the B.C. Winter Games.