OLDS — Local female hockey player Ceder Thorburn made a statement in the Alberta Challenge Cup for U15AA athletes.
During the tournament, held May 3-7 in Red Deer, Thorburn finished second in the scoring race with five goals in four games, four of which were scored in the last game.
The tournament featured the top 120 female players born in 2008/09 from across the province, playing on six teams; three each representing the north and south. About 200 girls tried out for spots on those teams.
Thorburn was eked out for top spot in the scoring race by one point by Calgarian Lila Deis who racked up six points (four goals and two assists).
Thorburn, who played for team south white, was also named player of the game in her team’s third game of the tournament.
Team white ended up winning the bronze medal by hammering south black 11-1 on May 7.
In that game, Thorburn was named the Gatorade Canada Alberta Built Performer of the day.
The Alberta Challenge Cup website says that award goes to an athlete who exemplifies the following qualities:
A good person who knows who they are, a character player who believes in themselves, a gritty player who thrives on adversity, who demonstrates leadership and treats people well, and is focused – always competes.
“It's the highest-level tournament these 2008-09-born female athletes can play here in Alberta,” Ceder’s mom, Danielle wrote in an email.
“It is a great tournament for these amazing athletes, who are rivals all year in league, to come together as teammates to compete."
Thorburn played on the U15AA elite female team in Olds this past season.
During an interview with the Albertan, Thorburn said she loves hockey and has been playing the game since she was four or five years old.
She got interested in it after watching her brother Mannix play the game. He now plays U18 hockey in Olds.
“I just love it. It's my passion. You make so many friendships from it,” she said. (I like) almost everything about it; your teammates and just like the whole idea of it – competing.”
Her mom related a piece Ceder wrote when she was in about Grade 4.
“She said, ‘hockey is my passion and I love it with all my heart because it brings me joy to see my teammates do well, to see myself do well, to have good coaches and have that group of people always cheering you on,’” Danielle said.
Ceder, 15, goes into U18 hockey next season. Her goal is to try out for – and hopefully make – a U18AAA team in Red Deer. If that doesn’t work out, she’d try out for U18AA in Airdrie.
She’d like to continue playing hockey for as long as she can at the highest levels she can.
She’s already dreaming of not only playing hockey at the post-secondary level, but even in the Olympics and/or turning pro.
Ceder is aware that the competition gets tougher at each level and tier.
Her mom noted she tried out for the Alberta Challenge Cup a year or so ago and was unsuccessful.
“It’s fierce competition,” Danielle said. “You can’t take a break on any shift, because if you do and the evaluators are watching you, that could cost you whether or not you get a spot.
“She didn’t make it last year, the first year and that’s one thing that she learned: you can’t take a shift off.”
So far, body checking hasn't been allowed in the hockey Ceder has played.
She was asked if she’s found that disappointing.
“Well, I’m small,” she said (she’s 5’2”). “But sometimes I feel like it’d be OK. If boys have it, I think girls could have it too.”