Yellowknife 17-year-old Taylor Catcher has made Team Alberta for the western regional women’s U18 hockey championship.
This is the inaugural year for the tournament, which features teams from Alberta, Saskatchewan, British Columbia, and Manitoba. Ordinarily there would be a national U18 championship but its cancellation led to the creation of a regional replacement.
Catcher told Cabin Radio she remains in shock that she made the team, allowing her to face some of the best female players her age in western Canada.
“The fact that someone from a small town is able to do something so huge is still processing through my head right now,” Catcher said, calling it a “huge accomplishment” in her life.
“I am looking forward to being able to put on the jersey and represent Alberta itself, and to play with such amazing players – fast, strong, and positive players. You have to be a positive influence to make this team.
“I’m very excited to get to be around them and hang out and take in the experience. I will remember this moment, and remember seeing my name on the roster, until the day I die.”
Catcher currently trains and attends school near Edmonton. She hopes reaching Team Alberta will motivate young girls playing hockey in Yellowknife to aim big, too.
Her ability had already caught one veteran eye prior to this year. In early 2020, while still playing high school hockey in Yellowknife, Catcher’s performance during the week of Hockey Day in Canada earned praise from broadcaster Ron McLean.
“Obviously, Sir John has a little bit of an edge with Taylor Catcher,” MacLean told Cabin Radio as Catcher’s Sir John Franklin High School team defeated École St Patrick High School 5-4.
‘I try to be the best’
Last year was “a rollercoaster of emotions,” Catcher said. Covid-19 cancelled much of the season and left her feeling like all her training was for nothing.
This season is off to a wildly different start.
“This year we’re travelling lots, we’re practising, and there are games now,” she said, as she sets her sights on NCAA hockey and aiming toward team Canada.
“I also have to think about education more than hockey when it comes to university,” she said.
“Female players cannot go into the NHL, they cannot make a living off of hockey – which is kind-of sad and a little frustrating.”
But that doesn’t deter her from giving the sport her all.
“I feel like I need to give it 110 percent every time I step on the ice, and that’s my mindset,” she said.
“Every time. It doesn’t matter if it’s a practice, it doesn’t matter if it’s a game, it doesn’t matter if it’s just a light skate after a tournament.
“I always have that mindset … I try to be the best.”