A promising star within the Canadian national program, forward Sarah Potomak brings a top-scoring game filled with high energy and enthusiasm.
This scoring spitfire from Abbottsford, British Columbia was one of six Canadian players that had the opportunity to attend the 2013 IIHF Women’s High Performance Camp in Sheffield, England. Participating with players from the Top 14 ranked nations at the Under-18 level, it was a treasured chapter in her promising career.
“It was the experience of a lifetime and really interesting to see the level of all the other players. You compare the caliber of players other countries and it interesting to learn how those players were taught from the other countries. It was great for them to see how we train, how we do it.”
Potomak was one of two girls from British Columbia that was part of the Canadian contingent which travelled to Sheffield. Joining her at the event was Micah Hart, a defender from the Okanagan Hockey Academy.
“Micah and I have been friends for forever and she is really cool. It was fun to have her with me and really nice to have a friend around.”
From August 10 to 18, 2013, she was part of a group of 41 hopefuls that attended the Hockey Canada Under-18 Team Selection Camp. As one of six players from British Columbia, it was a record number. The milestone is testament to the improvement of women’s hockey talent in the province.
“Definitely. Even on the provincial team, getting better each and every single year. The game is growing. The girls are getting stronger and developing well.”
Her club team is the famed Pursuit of Excellence Hockey Academy, which has produced past Under-18 members like Christine Bestland, Meghan Dufault, Halli Krzyzaniak and Brigette Lacquette to name a few. One of two competitors with P of E at the Under-18 camp, she is joined by teammate Lauren Spring. For Potomak, the opportunity to compete at the academy is one that has enriched her hockey experiences, “I have been there for 4 years now and every day you learn something new. You get better and better. The exposure and the training helps you develop as a person and as a hockey player. Many of the players have gone on to university and to the national team.”
During the 2012-13 season, Potomak emerged as one of the academy’s prime offensive weapons. With 56 points, on the strength of 33 goals and 23 assists, Potomak was a significant factor in helping P of E grab the bronze medal at the inaugural Female World Sport School Challenge. Contested in Winnipeg, Manitoba, her 10 points made her the tournament’s leading scorer.
With the added responsibility of serving as an assistant captain with P of E, she cites several coaches as positive influences in her career. From Scott Spenser and Glen Naha with P of E, to Jeff Eaton, a minor hockey coach she has known for several seasons, this titanic trio have helped shape her career. “With every game, every practice, they have helped me to become best I can be. They are my biggest fans.”
Having spent her entire life in British Columbia, the 2010 Vancouver Winter Games would provide a unique source of inspiration. At the time, a teenaged phenomenon named Marie-Philip Poulin captured the imagination of Canadian hockey fans by scoring twice in the gold medal game over the arch rival United States.
Since then, Poulin has emerged as a Hockey East superstar with the Boston University Terriers. While she will miss the upcoming season in the hopes of competing at the 2014 Sochi Winter Games, her breakout performance in Vancouver serves as inspiration for Potomak,
“She inspired me since she was so young. I want to do what she did and be one of the youngest players on the national team.”
Of note, Potomak had the opportunity for her own glory on British Columbia ice. In autumn 2012, the community of Dawson Creek hosted the Under-18 Canadian Nationals.
Playing alongside her lifelong friend Micah Hart, she donned the Team BC jersey and helped the proud provincial team to a fourth place finish. The chance to compete in front of friends and family in Dawson Creek stands as highly treasured moments.
“I have learned a lot and gotten a lot of exposure. It was another level higher than I was used to playing. I loved playing in my home province of BC. I would not have wanted to play anywhere but home. The team had so much support. Schools came to watch us and our families were there. It was great and I loved it.”
Her next goal is to be named to the Canadian Under-18 roster for the 2014 IIHF Women’s Worlds. Should she be part of the squad that gets to don the magical Maple Leaf, she will be looking to make her dreams of golden glory come true.
“To play on the team would be exceptional. It is always an honour to play for Canada. To bring back the gold medal for my country is a dream of mine. I cannot explain what an unbelievable feeling it would be.”
“All quotes obtained first hand unless otherwise indicated”
Photo Credit: Wayne Glowacki, Winnipeg Free Press