Local hockey player brings home bronze from Alberta Challenge

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Local hockey player, 14-year-old Grace Charko, was out representing Whitecourt at the annual Alberta Challenge hockey style tournament.

The Alberta Challenge ran from May 2-5 in Leduc, Alta. and had six teams competing.

Charko was part of the North Team Grey who fought hard against Team Green earning them third place with a 1-0 win over Team Green.

“I was super nervous coming to every game,” she said. “But I think being nervous is just part of the game and what makes it so fun.”

Grace Charko for Team Grey. Submitted | Tammy Charko

The challenge aids in the identification and selection of potential players for Hockey Alberta’s Team Alberta program, with hundreds of players annually trying out for 120 spots; 20 players on each team.

The tryouts are an open invitation to any and all female hockey players in Alberta with approximately 350 trying out in 2019.

“The team I (was part of), even though we did not know each other before, and were usually on the opposing teams for the winter season,” Charko said. “We bonded really quickly. It was like we all knew each other forever.”

The young athlete has been playing the sport since the age of five, playing on the boys’ team until she was 13. The 2018/19 season marked her first year as part of a Bantam team where she played on the St. Albert Bantam Elite Raiders.

“My favourite part about hockey is the adrenaline of being on the ice and bonding with my teammates,” she said. “I (went in) hoping to leave the Team Challenge being better than when I came and to learn things that will help me in my future hockey career.”

tbrandell@postmedia.com

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