Best friends Annalise Wong and Katie Chan will be teammates again and this time they will be wearing provincial colours.
The Richmond pair were among 20 players named to Team B.C. that will be heading to Manitoba in November for the 2019 National Women’s U18 Hockey Championships. The roster was finalized following an extensive selection process that included a week-long provincial camp at Shawnigan Lake back in July and a four-day final camp 10 days ago at UBC.
Chan is playing on Team B.C. for the third consecutive year, having helped her province win bronze at the Canada Winter Games last March and at the 2017 nationals as well. She was named one of the team’s assistant captains this week. The standout forward attends the Delta Hockey Academy where she is playing on the Wild Girls Prep Team.
The trip to nationals will be an on ice reunion of sorts for Chan and Wong. They were last teammates together on a powerhouse Bantam Ravens squad three years ago that did everything but win the provincial title.
The girls not only came through hockey together, spending a number of years playing boys rep level at Seafair, but also attended Steveston-London. They helped the Sharks basketball team win the provincial Grade 9 title in 2018.
While Chan moved on to B.C. Midget AAA League with Fraser Valley before heading to DHA and South Delta Secondary for her Grade 10 year, Wong stayed put with the Ravens.
She is the only player on the Team B.C. roster that does not play at an academy or in the Midget AAA League. It’s an encouraging sign that it doesn’t necessarily take a lot of time and money to reach the highest level.
“I love to play hockey but I also love to do other things as well,” said Wong who still has another year of eligbiity for the team. “If I played academy or major midget I would be playing hockey everyday far away from here. I wouldn’t be able to do things here that I like to do like school sports.
“I have also made a lot of friends on this team.”
Wong spent much of the provincial team tryout process on the blueline where she has played almost her entire career. She wasn’t moved to forward until the final four-day camp at UBC. Her initial thought was she was no more than an “extra body” at such a late stage in the process. She was wrong.
The additional work she put in over the summer weight training and skating at the Olympic Oval had paid off in a big way. Now longtime Ravens Midget A coach AJ Sander is playing her at forward as well.
“She is a great defenceman but she can be an asset up front too. I figured with her making Team BC as a forward she hasn’t had enough games there so to help her out we moved her up front to make sure she is ready for that,” said Sander. “We want to see her succeed.”
Wong becomes the third Raven to make the U18 provincial team under Sander, joining Leah Lum and Emily Costales.
The tournament runs from Nov. 3-9 in Morden and Winkler, MB.