Aldergrove sisters Sarah and Amy Potomak are among the national team hopefuls invited to the Fall Festival hosted by Hockey Canada.
Hockey Canada has invited 59 players from across the country to attend Canada’s National Women’s Team Fall Festival, an annual training camp aimed at helping develop and evaluate the nation’s top female hockey players.
Held in Dawson Creek, Sept. 8-16 at the Encana Events Centre, the Fall Festival will see national team prospects split into two squads – Team Red and Team White – to train and compete against each other as well as against local teams over their six-day stay in the Peace Region.
Amy and Sarah Potomak, aged 19 and 20 respectively, both now attend University of Minnesota, where they play for the Gophers in the NCAA. Both of the sisters also played for the Canadian national women’s team in 2017, where Canada won a silver medal behind the United States in the Four Nations Cup with the US, Finland, and Sweden.
Sarah played 13 international games for Canada last year, scoring twice and earning three assists. Amy notched one goal for Canada in those 13 games.
Both of the sisters are flexible on the front line, playing well in centre and wing positions.
“We attribute all of our success to our family,” wrote Sarah and Amy in an email.
“Our parents worked so hard to be able to give us endless opportunities in hockey to succeed. We played hockey because of our brothers. They are very supportive and still give us tips. Our dad coached us as much as he could, growing up, which was always fun, and he encouraged us to be the best we could be. Work ethic is everything, and all of us kids have developed a strong work ethic because of our parents.”
There are six kids in the Potomak family, four boys – Mark, Matthew, Devin, and Brandon – and the two girls. Brandon Potomak captured a gold medal in ice hockey at the 2011 Canada Winter Games.
Of the 23 players invited to Fall Festival who captured Olympic silver in PyeongChang, 17 will be in attendance, including three members of the leadership group: Marie-Philip Poulin (Beauceville, Que./Montreal, CWHL), Jocelyne Larocque (Ste. Anne, Man./Markham, CWHL), and Brianne Jenner (Oakville, Ont./Calgary, CWHL).
Player selections were led by Gina Kingsbury, Hockey Canada’s director of national teams, along with head scout, Melody Davidson.
“We’re beginning a new Olympic quad, and a new season, and it’s exciting to see such a strong talent pool as we head into our national team Fall Festival in Dawson Creek,” said Kingsbury, who was a player within Hockey Canada’s national women’s team program from 1999 until her retirement in 2010, winning two Olympic gold medals and three IIHF Women’s World Championships during her playing career.
“Fall Festival allows Hockey Canada to provide continued development opportunities, especially for those players who were with us in August at the development team camp, while replicating a short-term competition schedule that allows us to evaluate the players in a way that more closely resembles the experience they would have at a 4 Nations Cup or IIHF Women’s World Championship, which is what they’re aspiring to achieve.”
Two other prominent 2018 Olympic team members headed to Dawson Creek in coaching roles are Perry Pearn and Troy Ryan. Both were assistant coaches with the 2018 Canadian Women’s Olympic Hockey Team.
The 2018-19 season will see Canada’s National Women’s Team face off against Finland, Sweden, and the United States on home ice Nov. 6-10 when Saskatoon hosts the 4 Nations Cup, and culminate with the 2019 IIHF Women’s World Championship, April 4-14, in Espoo, Finland. Rosters will be announced in the lead-up to those respective events.
For more information on Hockey Canada and Canada’s National Women’s Team Program, please visit HockeyCanada.ca, or follow through social media on Facebook, Twitter, and Twitter.com/HC_Women.