IHACT had two players in the Women’s U18 Team competing in the 2017 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 Women’s World Cup Division I, Group B Qualification in Spain 26th-29th January. Maddie Prescott and Brittany Mendham were part of the 18 player and 2 goalie squad coached by Tamra Jones.
IHACT sat down with the pair and found out what is was like to play at World Champion Tournament
This was the first time both of you have been in the Women’s U18 National team. Tell us about your try-out process and what training camp was like?
Maddie: I just tried to get as fit as possible and work on all my skills especially shooting. I went into camp playing as hard as I could and doing my best.
Brittany: I got a phone call asking if I wanted to try out, so I got an off ice training program and got scouted at games and from there I got onto the team.
How was the training camp?
Maddie: It was really great, we were playing really really fast and it was nice to gel at the training camp.
Brittany: It was a lot off ice work but it paid off in the end because we were the fittest team and the fastest team. We were all the same fitness, so it was really hard work leading up to it but it was all really worth it.
What positions did you both play?
Maddie: I was a wing. Right mostly.
Brittany: I played centre, left wing or right wing.
Australia played against Spain, Mexico and Romania, which was the most challenging team to play?
Brittany: I think Spain, because they were the home team. The crowd was amazing even though it wasn’t for us, but we used the crowd and we pushed through. We beat the home team and that was our first game too. The score was 3-1, which was the smallest score we had. They came out fighting and they did want it more but we got the win.
Maddie: I didn’t step onto the ice for that game but it was a really good game to watch. The toughest game I played was against Mexico. They were really hard working and wanted it in the first period but then we got it back.
Brittany you scored a goal against Mexico how did that feel?
When it happened it all went into slow motion. I didn’t know it went into the net. I shot it and thought it was a really bad shot but then I saw the little black puck in the net. I did a really bad celebration and then I started crying because I was proud of myself and there was so much emotion, but it was probably the coolest feeling I’ve had in my life.
The team won all their games with the biggest defeat against Romania 10-0 and now move up a division to Div. I Group B in 2018 where we’ll be up against China, Great Britain, Denmark and Poland. Who do you think will be the toughest team?
Maddie: Probably Denmark after playing them at the training camp, they were so good.
What was the best thing about Worlds?
Brittany: The whole experience was amazing. But the best part was being apart of the amazing team. All the girls got along really well and I have made friendships I'll keep forever.
Maddie: The best part of worlds was probably winning. The overall experience was so amazing and we had such a great group of girls but I think winning was the cherry on top.
What was the best food you ate while at Worlds in Spain?
Maddie: Spain didn’t really have good food. The chicken was the food we had every single day and it was so bad. Probably the best food we had in Spain was the ham and cheese toasties we got after the first game.
Brittany: She’s not wrong.
Maddie: In Denmark we had great croissants for breakfast. Danish food was good.
Brittany: Did you have Churros though? That was on my list, when I go to Spain I’m going to have Churros and I did it, so I can die happy.
What are your future plans for hockey, do you hope to play in the AWIHL or represent Australia again?
Maddie: The next thing on my list is to go back to Worlds and play for the U18 again. I want to play for the AWIHL, whether that’s for a Canberra team or for another team. But it’s definitely on my list and playing for the Women’s Senior Team as well.
Brittany: I’m too old for the junior team now so in the next AWIHL season I want to try and get onto a team, any team. I tried out for the senior team this year and didn’t make it, so I know what I have to do to train and that is my goal for next year to make the Women’s National Team.
What is your advice for young girls who have just started?
Maddie: Keep playing, make sure you enjoy it and keep going out on the ice and do as much training as possible as well as fitness work and set a goal and go for it, do everything you can to do it.
Brittany: Don’t let the boys intimidate you.
Congratulations to our players and the whole Women’s U18 National team on their win at Worlds. Australia now moves into Division I, Group B in 2018.