KENTVILLE , N.S.- A hockey player hailing from Kings County will soon suit up for Team Canada.
Kentville native Brette Pettet made the cut for the national women’s team selected for the 2017 IIHF U18 Women’s World Championship scheduled for Jan. 7-15 in Prerov and Zlin, Czech Republic.
The 17-year-old, right-shooting forward was chosen as one of 23 elite athletes tasked with helping Team Canada add a fifth world championship win to its record following gold medal victories in 2010, 2012, 2013 and 2014.
Pettet is one of 18 players on the select squad that scored ice time with Canada’s National Under-18 Team in a three-game contest versus the visiting United States in August.
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“It was so cool. It was an experience that I’ve never had before and one that I’ll never forget,” said Pettet, recalling the Calgary tournament in a phone interview from the Shattuck-St. Mary’s boarding school she attends in Minnesota.
“It was unbelievable to put on that jersey for the first time and represent (my) country.”
In her fifth year with the prep school, Pettet is looking forward to sharing the ice with some of her teammates from Shattuck while in the Czech Republic. She’ll be joining a teammate from British Columbia in donning the maple leaf emblem at worlds, and facing off against five Shattuck players picked to represent the United States.
“You just want to make sure that you do your best and hold yourself accountable while playing for your country. In terms of the game, the pace is very quick and it’s physical… really good hockey,” said Pettet.
Pettet’s hockey background stems back to the days she watched her older brothers at the rinks, and could hardly wait to join a team of her own at five years old.
“One of my brothers was a goalie and the other was defence, so it was kind of cool because I was a forward. I could shoot on one, (but) I couldn’t score very often,” she joked.
The other brother taught her how to go skate-to-skate with opponents known for their speed.
Pettet counts her teammates at Shattuck, parents Debbie and John, brothers and coaches from all levels among the growing list of people that, she says, helped her become the player she is today.
With a strict training regime to follow at school, Pettet is pleased to have the opportunity to prepare for her first international tournament while surrounded by several like-minded students.
“Everyone here is hard working and everyone here is passionate about something, whether it’s hockey or not,” she says.
Team Canada will join such rivals as Sweden, the United States, Russia, Japan, the host Czech Republic team, Switzerland and Finland on the world stage.
“We are excited about the group of players we have selected and are confident that they all possess the qualities we were looking for in a gold-medal team,” said Troy Ryan, head coach, Canada’s National Women’s Under-18 Team, in a press release announcing the final roster.
“This has been a long evaluation process and these 23 players have worked hard at our camps, with their clubs teams and at nationals and will be ready to hit the ice in Czech Republic in the Team Canada jersey.”
In a follow up interview, Ryan praised Pettet as a well-rounded athlete.
“Brette is a quality player that exhibits many attributes that Hockey Canada expects their players to have,” he said via e-mail.
“She is a good player on the ice and a good person off the ice. Brette has great hockey sense and a strong understanding of concepts within the game. Throughout her career she has shown an ability to produce offensively while being defensively responsible. This will be key in her success moving forward.”
Pettet can hardly wait to race down the ice in pursuit of the international championship title, wearing the Team Canada jersey that serves as a testament to years of hard work.
“Hockey can offer you something that nothing else can,” she says. “The opportunities that I’ve had through hockey are endless.”