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Year 11 student Emma Steele has made it to the Under 18 Australian ice hockey team and will travel to Denmark and Spain in January 2017 to compete in the IIHF World Championships.
It is a dream come true for the Beaconhills College Pakenham Campus student, who was also selected for the Melbourne Ice women’s hockey team.
She is one of just a handful of Australian females to reach this level in the sport. Her story is even more extraordinary because she only began playing just over two years ago.
A thrilled Emma said she cried when she heard the news. Her journey to the top of the sport has involved a huge amount of hard work – and sacrifice.
“I had to give up a lot of things like parties, hanging out with my friends and most importantly, sleep, and it was a very overwhelming feeling when they said I made the team,” she said.
When Emma first enquired about playing ice-hockey, she was told it would take at least two years to gain enough skills to qualify for a team. It took her just two months.
Good ice-hockey genetics may have helped. Her great-grandfather William (Bill) Gash was a player with ‘The Pirates’, an Ice Hockey Victoria team. She still has his ice-hockey stick.
The forward player will now have a busy schedule preparing for the international competition.
“I can’t thank my parents enough for always believing in me and pushing me to be better and I’m always thankful to my coaches for putting in the hard work to train me.
“I’m not a big believer in miracles, but it’s a miracle I found hockey.”
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Gate C, Syme Rd, Pakenham VIC 3810