Preparing for national ball hockey tryouts

Julia Russell among prospects for Team Canada

Published on September 13, 2012
Julia Russell of Clarenville is one of 60 prospects for the Canadian Women's Ball Hockey team.
Kathy Gosse photo

She had two goals - play to win, and play to be noticed.

Julia Russell is satisfied she accomplished both at the national women's ball hockey championships in Edmonton last month.

Russell, who lives in Clarenville, was a member of the Newfoundland and Labrador team at that tournament.

Her team won gold in the 'B' division. They defeated the hometown squad 1-0 in triple overtime.

Even more exciting, though, was when she got a call from team coach Peter Cabral a few weeks after the tournament, telling her she was one of 60 prospects named to Team Canada's ball hockey roster.

Making the prospect list was something she had hoped to do.

She says pretty much everyone on the team knew there would be scouts from Team Canada watching the games.

Next year this province will host the world ball hockey championships in St. John's.

Russell, who played defense at the nationals, is one of eight from the province to make the prospect list. She turns 26 next month.

"You're going to play hard no matter what. But I gave it that extra push at the nationals," Russell told the Packet. "I think that paid off."

Making the prospect list is one hurdle accomplished. Making the team will take a lot more work.

During the closing banquet at the national championships Team Canada head coach Christine Pellerin noted she was looking to put together a coast-to-coast team for next year's worlds.

"It sounds to me she's looking for more players from the east coast," says Russell.

Her hope is that with Newfoundland hosting it might present more opportunities for players from this province.

"It's definitely an opportunity for a handful of players from here to earn a spot on the team. It would bring more attention to the event and more excitement if we had a couple of players make it."

Other than being notified that she is among 60 prospects, Russell says she doesn't have any other information on when the selection camp will be held. But one thing is for certain she plans to be in the best possible shape when the call comes.

"It would be an unbelievable accomplishment to be named to Team Canada. It's something I'm going to work towards in the upcoming months. It would be a great experience; to play in an international event in front of friends and family would be wonderful."

Russell says she has a good handle on what it takes to make it to the national stage. Recently she had a chance to watch a video of a Team Canada women's ice hockey training camp.

"The amount of off-ice training was extensive. So that was sort of a bit of motivation for me. I know now how much I need to train to get a shot at making the team," she says. "I have to bring my game to a whole new level."