A player for the St. Thomas University women’s hockey team spent 10 days of her summer in Calgary, Alta. after being handpicked by Hockey Canada to participate in an elite hockey camp.
Alex Woods travelled to Calgary on Aug. 2 to participate in the Hockey Canada Summer Showcase as a member of the U SPORTS Women’s Hockey All-Stars, where she got to compete against the two under-22 teams and Team Japan.
“There were a lot of moments where I would just stop for a second and look around and be like, ‘Wow, I’m really here,’” said Woods, who was one of the youngest players at the camp.
Woods was one of 20 players selected from across Canada to take part in the camp.
“It was a really big experience for me and a really humbling opportunity,” she said.
“It is nerve-racking because you have girls of all different talent, because you have girls that have accomplished a lot already during their careers or they’re at the end of their university careers and then you have girls that have only done their first or their second year.”
Woods is the second Tommie in three years to be named to the showcase roster after Kelty Apperson participated in 2016.
“You just watch it happen and then when it happens to you, it’s a totally different feeling. It’s definitely overwhelming for sure,” Woods said, who is a defensive player on the women’s hockey team.
Woods said being selected was one of the goals in the back of her head last season.
“It’s one thing to have a good first year, but it’s harder to have an even better second year,” said Woods, who just started her third year at STU.
Woods said she was ecstatic when the women’s ice hockey head coach, Peter Murphy, called her and told her she’d been chosen to attend the camp.
“There were a lot of emotions going through me. I was definitely excited, nervous,” Woods said.
“My first question was, ‘Is there anybody else on our team [who got picked]?’ Because I definitely thought there was going to be someone else on our team that was going to be picked as well. I was definitely surprised in general that I was chosen.”
Woods started playing hockey in her hometown in Courtice, Ontario, a small town with a population of approximately 35,000.
“I basically played there my entire life—up until when I was 16 and I left to go to Toronto, which is more well-known just to basically be seen by universities so that I could go play [hockey] for a university. That’s where Pete [Murphy] noticed me.”
During her 2017-18 season with the Tommies, Woods scored six goals and had 17 assists for a combined total of 23 points — the best among defenders in U SPORTS women’s hockey, according to the Tommie’s website. She was also named to the Atlantic University Sports first team all-conference.
Woods said she hopes she gets invited back to the summer showcase next year.
“I hope that I continue to grow as a player and I continue to develop and that they do keep selecting me to return so that I’ll know what to expect,” she said.
Woods said she would never have been selected if it weren’t for her coaches and teammates.
“They have been so supportive through this entire process. They’re the best support system I could have asked for,” Woods said, adding her team is like her family.
“Every girl in that room is so dedicated and committed, so it could happen to any one of them.”