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Sydnee Chaisson is grateful to have the opportunity to compete at a national field hockey camp with a pair of friends she has known for most of her life.
The 15-year-old Stratford native, who normally plays centre defence, along with Grace Larkin and Molly Doyle left Monday morning to fly across the country. The trio of under-15 players are attending the Field Hockey Canada’s next generation camp, which began Tuesday and continues to Saturday at the University of Victoria in British Columbia.
“It’s pretty surreal that three of us can go from Prince Edward Island,” said Chaisson, the daughter of Michelle and Chris Chaisson.
“If I was going by myself, I would be a little nervous,” she added Sunday night during a final practice at UPEI before departing for the West Coast. “Since I can share this experience with both of them, it’s going to be a good time.”
Larkin, a 15-year-old defenceman from Mermaid, agreed.
“That’s the best part,” she said. “If it was just me, I would be really nervous to go alone but since they’re with me it will be a lot better.”
The three Islanders all started playing the sport three years ago when they were in Grade 7.
“I play ice hockey and I thought it would be a new thing to try. . . Now I’m really into it,” said Doyle, a 15-year-old Auburn native who usually plays centre-midfield. “I’m fortunate. I shoot right in hockey and all of the sticks are right in field hockey.”
She said it was a bit hard to learn the sport initially, particularly on grass as opposed to the turf, which speeds up the game a lot.
“Once you get going, it’s really fun to learn,” said the daughter of Alison Kelly-Doyle and Grant Doyle. “It’s a really neat sport.”
They attended nationals in Calgary at the end of July and received camp invitations a few days after arriving back in Prince Edward Island.
“They’re great girls,” said Field Hockey Prince Edward Island president Barb Carmichael. “They’ll learn lots and that’s the thing we want them to do.”
Doyle said at nationals they competed against some girls who have been playing the sport for 10 years. It gives them a sense of the level of talent that will be at the camp.
“I’m really looking forward to seeing the skills of other players and . . . see how I stack up,” she said. “I know it’s going to be like the best players, and it’s going to be really challenging, but it will definitely be a really good experience.”
Larkin said it will be a fun week that will push her.
“I think I’ll (learn) a lot of new skills and hopefully I’ll meet a lot of new people there and some really good coaches,” said the daughter of Calvin Larkin and Tracy Clements, who played field hockey at UNB. “I just hope to improve . . . and get a better shot when I go up there and just learn as much as I can.”