Brooke Noseworthy is in her second season as a member of the Gold 1 Under-19 female hockey team at the Ontario Hockey Academy. — Submitted photo
CORNWALL, Ont. — Giles Lascelle believes Brooke Noseworthy has the potential to be one of the top female hockey players in the country for her age.
Noseworthy, a 16-year-old St. Anthony native, is in her second season under the tutelage of coach Lascelle on the Gold 1 Under-19 female hockey team at the Ontario Hockey Academy (OHA) based in Cornwall, Ont.
Lascelle was looking for talent in Atlantic Canada two years ago when he discovered Noseworthy strutting her stuff at a female hockey camp in Prince Edward Island.
The talks went well between the coach and the prospect so Noseworthy began another chapter in her amateur hockey career that begin with her honing her skills in her hometown before taking her game on the road with various all-star teams both on a local and provincial base over the last couple of years.
The Ontario Hockey Academy is a specialized, private boarding school in Cornwall where a total of 135 hockey players from 16 countries, both male and female, suit up for one of seven teams operating under the logo. There are four male teams and three female teams including Noseworthy’s new team.
Teams representing the OHA don’t participate in any league. They play 60-70 games with participation solely focused on showcase events and university tournaments for the purpose of providing elite female hockey players with exposure to the right people. Noseworthy and company played in a tournament in Rochester, N.Y. last weekend and this weekend will be bound for Detroit for a huge female hockey tournament that will feature the top 24 female hockey teams in the United States and Canada.
“We showcase our girls not only to Team Canada, but universities in the United States and Canada,” he said.
The success of the OHA program in recent years can be seen all over the female hockey world, according to coach Lascelle.
“Our team has sent more girls, in the last five years, to NCAA or CIS programs than any other program in Canada,” he said.
That’s great news for players like Noseworthy — daughter of Colin and Tonya Noseworthy — who have visions of suiting up for a team in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) in the near future. While it may be a long ways off and a lot of things would have to go her way, Noseworthy also shares the dream of so many other passionate female hockey players and that’s to wear Canada’s colours on the Winter Olympics stage.
While there are no guarantees in the fickle hockey world, coach Lascelle believes the academy can help make Noseworthy a better player.
“We just thought she would be a good fit and if we could keep developing her, especially her puck skills and her team play, she would be one of the top players in Canada in her age group,” he said.
“She’s a strong girl and she’s got great skating skills,” he added.
Noseworthy, meanwhile, has embraced a hectic schedule of juggling school work with a daily diet of hockey in an effort to be the best she can be. Life has been really different adjusting to a set schedule that keeps her on her toes all week with practices and her studies and then there’s the weekends full of hockey and lots of travel to tournaments.
But, she wouldn’t change a thing. Being away from her tiny hometown certainly affords her an opportunity to explore and discover more things so she has no qualms about being on the mainland. She enjoys being in an environment where she is opposing quality competition on a consistent basis and plays so many more games than what she was used to at home when the layout of the land prohibited a lot of quality competition on a consistent basis.
“I’ve found that I am a smarter hockey player now and I find my speed has picked up a bit,” she said.
She has no regrets about her decision.
“I’m really glad I came up here,” she said. “The hockey isn’t bad home, but compared to the high calibre that’s here I just found that I’ve improved and I have better equipment to improve.”