Team NL delighted by Junior National female ball hockey win on home ground

CBS Residents Molly Gill (left) and Haley Ryan (right) helped their team secure a first-place finish at the Junior National Ball Hockey Championships played in rinks throughout the Northeast Avalon last month. – Submitted by Molly Gill

By Alexandra Brothers
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
via The Shoreline News, 8/11/23

BS Arena was home to an enormous victory for Newfoundland’s U19 female ball hockey team last month during the Junior National Ball Hockey Championships. The team defended its title from last year, winning the gold medal game 3-2 against Team BC.
Assistant Captain Molly Gill played a crucial role in the team’s success.
Gill, 18, is a CBS resident who has been playing hockey since she was a tot. She has been playing ball hockey for five years but started playing ice hockey at age seven.
In the gold medal game, Gill assisted on the team’s first goal, then later scored the game-tying goal with only three minutes to spare, and proceeded to score the winning goal in overtime. She was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player.
“To be named MVP was really an honour for me,” said Gill, who noted there were many other talented players in the tournament who likewise deserved the award.
Getting to compete in a nationwide competition in CBS and neighbouring communities was especially meaningful for Gill.
“Having this tournament in my own hometown and in the rinks I grew up playing hockey in is something really special,” she said.
Seeing a crowd full of Newfoundland flags and colours gave the team an “extra push,” according to Gill, who appreciated having the opportunity to receive support from friends and family members who would not have been able to attend an out-of-province game.
The 2023 Newfoundland U19 Female Ball Hockey Team. Top row from left: Mike Hipditch, Rachel Hardy, Anna Gosling, Allie Spencer, Brooke Hipditch, Avery Battcock, Maggie Shute, Aliyah Sheppard, Grace Goodyear, Chelsea Crane, Molly Gill, Jayme Guy, Nancy Simpson, and Shannon Fahey. Bottom from left: Maggie Jones, Julia Butler, Haley Ryan, Cassie Drover, Brooklyn Kitchen, Jenni Simpson, Kendra Hipditch, Abby Fleet, and Olivia Taylor.
Winning the Junior Nationals as defending champions “felt incredible” for the team, said Gill. “After all the hard work and dedication we put into preparing for the tournament, it all came together in the end, which felt really good,” she said.
The win was also significant, she added, because hosting a national tournament brings exposure to the sport in Newfoundland. “This should help (the sport) grow throughout the province in the coming years,” Gill reckoned.
She expects to see a larger number of athletes try out for provincial ball hockey teams in the future thanks to the tournament and encouraged anyone interested in the sport to “go for it because it is really a super fun sport to play.”
Gill is now busy preparing for the upcoming Senior Nationals competition.

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