Anna Stensland, a high school freshman from Shoreline, Washington, is a goaltender on WWFHA’s 2014-15 Washington Wild U19 team. She has played hockey for 10 years, and this is her sixth season in the goalie position. She has been diligently working on and off the ice to improve her game. This year, she took it up a notch by attending USA Hockey Camps and preparing for college.
The USA Hockey Camp Experience
In January, 2014, Anna attended the USA Hockey Girls’ Washington State Development Camp in Everett, Washington. The WA State Camp is the first step on the journey through the USA Hockey Camp selection process, with the ultimate goal being an invitation to attend the USA Hockey National Team camp(s) where players are scouted by collegiate scouts and Olympic coaches.
Anna was selected from the 2014 Washington State Camp to attend the USA Hockey Pacific District Camp held in Mountlake Terrace, Washington last May. Players from Washington, Alaska, Oregon, California, Hawaii, and Nevada stayed in local hotels and participated in on- and off-ice training with the aspiration of being selected from the District Camp for either the USA Hockey National Camp or Multi-District Development Camp.
Anna was select from the District Camp to attend the USA Hockey Multi-District Nationwide (MDN) Goaltender Development Camp held at Kent State University in Ohio, June 28 - July 3rd, 2014.
“I was surprised when I found out I was selected for the Multi-District camp -- I did not expect it at all. When I learned I was invited to go I was very excited.” stated Anna.
Anna enjoyed a week of exciting goaltending training by some of the top collegiate coaches in the country. Afterwards, Anna shared, “My experience at the camp was great. I had a really fun time going on the ice and doing the off-ice activities. It was really fun to stay in the dorms on a college campus. It was a different camp than what I was used to; when I typically go to goalie camps, there are usually only six or seven goalies, but at this camp they had about 15 per age group. It was really cool to see that many goalies in one place.
“I met so many people at that camp. From coaches to players, everyone there was super nice and they all made me feel welcome even though I was the only one from Washington. I still keep in touch with them.”
Anna continued, “The coaches there were awesome and I really enjoyed working with them – they were really good coaches, but they still made it fun. They told us a lot of extra stuff, such as how to play hockey in college and how to eat healthy.
“However, one big tip they told me at that camp is that you are always being watched. Even in Washington, someone is watching you, so you should always play with that in mind. That advice really made me more passionate, and I think made me play better.”
Love of the Girls’ Game
Anna hasn’t always played girls’ hockey. She started playing for the WWFHA U14 team (formerly known as the Phoenix) four years ago. The Phoenix was her first experience playing girls’ hockey, although the team played against boys’ teams in the local NPSHL. Last year, she made the Washington Wild U19 team, which was her first experience playing against all-girl teams in the Canadian PCAHA league and in U.S. and Canadian tournaments.
She said, “I made the switch to girls’ hockey and I really like it. It is just as competitive as playing boys’ hockey, prepares my game for college, and is much more fun. Now I play for the U19 team against all girl teams in Canada. It is hard to explain it, but there is just something about getting a puck shot at me by girls that is so much more enjoyable than getting shot at by guys. And, the coaches in WWFHA are competitive and want to win. They also give you a lot of attention, develop you, and can make drills fun so we are working and having fun at the same time.”
Anna’s camp experiences helped her confidence and improved her game, especially in preparation for this season with the Washington Wild U19 team. She said, “I am looking forward to this season as last year we had a really good season and I am hoping we can pick up right where we left off. I love playing for this association -- it is so fun.”
Anna loves the sport of hockey and especially playing the goalie position. She has big dreams and plans to work hard to reach them. “The highlight of the camp for me was staying in a dorm room on a college campus and playing hockey. It made me feel like I was playing college hockey, and I realized that could happen if I try hard enough.” In her preparation she says, “My goal for school is to get good grades and manage my time well so I am not up until 3:00 AM finishing work that is due the next day. I know getting good grades is important for getting into college and playing hockey, and that time management is an important skill for college. And, my goal for hockey is to be the best I can be. I don't want to get lazy and just slide through ice times. I want to work hard and have fun!”
SIDE NOTE: The 2015 USA Hockey Girls’ Washington State Development Camp will be held January 24 – 25 at the Sportsplex in Bellingham, WA for birth years 2001, 2000, 1999, and 1998. For more information visit: http://www.pnaha.com/page/show/1275564-girls-women-s-hockey