When Kelsie Caine was first introduced to ice skating she didn’t like it.
But all that changed when she was six and introduced to ringette.
“I liked it and took to it,” explained the 16-year-old Red Deer native, who played in the Red Deer Ringette Association before reaching the competitive level.
She joined the Central Alberta Sting, which mainly consists of players from Red Deer and Lacombe, and today is the youngest member of the U19 team. Her abilities were obvious and didn’t go unnoticed as she was asked to join the Team Canada West squad to compete in the World Junior Championships, Dec. 28-Jan. 3 in London, Ont.
Caine is the youngest member of the Canadian team, which includes 22 players from the four western provinces.
Team Canada West and Team Canada East will face teams form Finland, the United States, France and Russia in the world championships.
“I’m super excited,” said Caine, who didn’t get a chance to tryout for the team.
“I was injured at the time,” she explained.
“It was disappointing and I thought my chances were slim to make the team. But they scouted me during the season and they judged me on that. They asked me to an interview and I made it. They said they seen me play and I’d be a good addition.”
Caine has always played centre and while she has a natural ability to score, it’s other aspects of her game that may be even more impressive.
“The biggest thing is I see the ice well and look for my teammates. I have a driven type of personality and I not only want to score, but want to get everyone involved.”
The world championships will be the first real international competition for Caine, although her club team did travel to Finland on a tour.
“But this is the first real experience at this level,” said Caine, who is going into Grade 11 at Notre Dame High School.
She also hopes it’s not the last.
“It’s always been a dream of mine to play for Canada . . . Once I started playing at a high level I was even more driven to fulfill my dream.”
Outside of ringette, Caine is busy at school, playing volleyball, soccer, rugby, tennis and track.
“It’s all good, and something I enjoy,” she said.
Fifteen members of Team Canada West are from Alberta.
“It shows how strong the province is, which is good,” she said. “The better the competition, the better it makes me. I’d rather play strong teams than a weak team as It helps me improve my game.”
The fact is there’s depth across Canada with two national teams.
“Canada has a lot of amazing players, so they cut it in two so they wouldn’t have to cut anyone . . . it’s fair that way.”
There’s also three members of the Central Alberta U19 Sting — Meghan Kelly, Kirsten MacGregor and Cassidy Lemasurier — on the USA team, who were looking for players to fill out their roster.
“They totally deserve to be there . . . they’re amazing players,” said Caine. “I know it will be different playing against them, but a lot of fun as well.”
Team Canada West played an exhibition game Monday in Lacombe against the Edmonton WAM of the National Ringette League and included several senior national team players, dropping a 6-5 overtime decision.
Alex Saizew, Lindsay Geddes, Jocelyn Stock, Lindsay Kee and Jennifer Pastro scored for Team Canada West. Jen Hartley had two goals and Abbie Treslan, Shannon Sarahs, Sydney Yaremchuk and Caleigh Shaw one each for the WAM.
Team Canada West training camp runs from Friday to Aug. 10 in Calgary and will play the Calgary Wrath of the NRL. They will also hold four-day camps in October in Calgary and November in Vancouver.