She might be only 15, but Katie Cox has already been to two Team Canada Under 18 female tryouts.
The tenth grader is the only female hockey player along the Southwest Coast invited to the camp this year.
“This year and last year were a bit different. Last year I had to go to . . . an identification camp,” Cox told The Gulf News.
Out of that camp, 40 were picked to go through to a High Performance Program (HPP).
“This year I didn’t have to go to an identification camp. I just went straight to the HPP.”
This was the first year the HPP camp was held in Corner Brook. In recent years the camp was held in Gander.
Chosen players from the HPP were then invited to the next development camp in Calgary and to try out for Canada’s National Women’s Team U18, which squared off for a three-game series versus the United States.
Unfortunately, Cox was not invited to the Calgary camp this year, but she still enjoyed the Corner Brook camp.
“Pushing yourself is probably the hardest part,” says Cox, “because it’s not called High Performance Program for nothing. It’s really demanding on your body and mind.
“If you didn’t push yourself you wouldn’t really get any further. You’ve got to test your limits.”
In addition to her invitation to the Corner Brook tryouts, the teenager has also played at the Newfoundland Winter Games, for the boys’ midget league and for the Port aux Basques Blaze U20. Until a couple of years ago she also played AAA. She will play again for the Blaze U20 and the midgets in the 2018-19 season.
Despite her slender frame, the 5 ft. 7 in. Cox is a solid defender. She uses speed and technique to her advantage.
“I’ve tried forward. It’s all right but defense is my favourite,” says Cox, who regularly takes on much bigger players. “If you have a technique then they’re not going to get past you either. You have to . . . adapt the technique.”
Personal challenges aside, Cox says she also loves just meeting people.
“That’s the great thing about the HPP. It’s people from all across the island and Labrador, and it’s a lot of people you don’t know. It’s just way more connecting.”
When she’s not playing hockey, Cox also enjoys soccer and volleyball. But hockey is her first love and, like most young players, she has a favourite NHL team.
She draws inspiration from the Pittsburgh Penguins, or more specifically the team’s captain.
“You look at Sidney Crosby,” notes Cox. “I’m from Nova Scotia. He’s from Nova Scotia. You see where he got.”
While she’s not necessarily dreaming of the NHL, she believes that being from a small town is not a hinderance when it comes to achieving a high profile sports career.
“You can still make it.”
Whatever the future holds in store for her, Katie Cox is taking things as they come and enjoying the journey.
“I like just to push myself; once I get up to a certain level I push myself to another one and try to achieve it,” says Cox. “I’m just going to see what happens.”