Fresh off her championship run in Sweden, Gracie Graham, a defenceman for U18 Women’s Team Canada hockey team, caught up with the Herald and shared her thoughts about the experience.  

What was the overall experience of the tournament like for you?

“I think it is one of the best experiences I’ve had in my hockey career. It’s just so unforgettable being in Sweden with Team Canada. Playing hockey with amazing people and amazing coaches was such a blessing. Winning a gold medal is something that I have always dreamed about and it was so much fun making it come true. ” 

What are your thoughts on your playing time? 

“I would say everyone played pretty equal times. I’m still a new member so I might get more ice time next year but I still got a considerable amount of time this tournament.” 

Can you describe the level of play in international competition?

“It’s really the hardest competition that I’ve ever played against in my life, but being on Team Canada and having the experience that my team had, was really beneficial to me.”

Can you describe your relationship with your teammates?

“I love all of my teammates. I feel that I’ve created bonds with everyone and that they’re going to be life long friends of mine. It was great experience for my hockey career but it was even more exciting because of all the friends I have made. On the ice, the returning players from last year’s championship team definitely helped us become the team that we were, making everyone else feel welcomed and comfortable, so it was very good to have them return.” 

What was it like performing on such a big stage? 

“I was more excited than nervous about playing. Female hockey, especially in my age bracket, don’t normally get that much publicity and airtime on T.V. so I was just thankful to experience that. I thought having a nationally televised game was crazy. I never would have imagined being shown on TSN like that, it’s definitely a great once in a lifetime experience for me.” 

What performance would you consider your best game?

“I honestly don’t think I had a ‘best game.’ I think I was just trying to be reliable in every game. The first game, when I scored was pretty exciting, with the help of my teammates and everyone around me, I made a goal, so it was a lot of fun. However, I don’t normally base everything off of goals so I think all of my games are my best.”

The tournament took place in Sweden from January 8 to January 15. Graham now returns to Kelowna and will be playing for the Rink Hockey Academy. The experience of international play has motivated her to continue working on her game in the hopes to make it back to Team Canada next year.