Shae Demale may have shortened her summer by a few weeks, only for this, she says it’s totally worth it.
The 19-year-old Red Deer product got the call earlier this summer that she was selected as a U Sports All-Star, after a strong freshman hockey season at Saint Mary’s University in Halifax.
She was named to the roster for the U Sports Women’s All-Stars, which will compete at Hockey Canada’s Summer Showcase from Aug. 2-11 in Calgary.
“Just excited to see what the competition is like and see what I can do. It’s going to be pretty amazing,” said the former Red Deer Sutter Fund Chief.
“I was really surprised at first, I never really expected it because it was my first year in the league. It was super cool and pretty amazing just to have the opportunity and be invited.”
Not only does that include a week of ice time with the best university players in Canada, but the event will also feature games against Japan and France. They’ll also square off with Canada’s National Women’s Development team.
“Probably the coolest part is seeing what teams are like from around the world and see how we compare,” she said.
It will be the first taste of international competition for the forward, as well as a great chance for her family to watch her play. She said a number of them have already agreed to make the trip, which is nice after playing on the east coast this season.
“Yeah, it’s super cool compared to what I have during the year, all the way across Canada. Now my family can watch and it’ll be awesome to have them there supporting me,” Demale said.
Just one year removed from midget AAA hockey, Demale had a stellar rookie season for the Huskies. She led the team in goals as a freshman with 13. That had her tied for eighth in the country and was one of the most proficient in Atlantic University Sport (AUS). Even more remarkable, eight of her 13 goals came in the final 12 games of the season, in just over a month from Jan. 2 to Feb. 10.
Once she got used to the pace of the game the U Sports level, Demale said she came to the realization that it’s just the same game she’s been playing her whole life, albeit a little bit quicker.
“It was my first year and going into the league I didn’t really know what to expect. But I was able to get back to where I left off in midget and got lots of playing time. It’s definitely a step up from midget, it was pretty cool to be able still to suceed at that level,” she said.
“The speed of play was an adjustment. And just how smart you have to be at that level compared to lower levels. everything goes so much faster. After a few games, it came naturally. Honestly, no I didn’t expect it but it’s pretty cool.”
Demale and the Huskies were eliminated by the St. FX X-Women in the AUS semi-finals last year. She hopes this season to continue her own strong play and reach the ultimate prize by the end of it all.
“I hope to have more team success and I hope we can make it all the way to nationals. Just keep going,” she said.
The Red Deer product and the U Sports All-Stars hit the ice for game one on Aug. 6 against Japan at 1 p.m. at the Markin McPhail Centre in Calgary.