EP duo crack SA ice hockey nod
Two Eastern Province women ice hockey players have been named in the South African ice hockey squad.
They will compete at the 2019 IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship Division II Group B qualifications taking place in Cape Town next year.
Kelley Wilson and Rachel van der Merwe are the province’s only players who have been called up.
Most of the team are from Western Province and Gauteng.
The IIHF Women’s World Championship Division II is an international ice hockey tournament run by the International Ice Hockey Federation.
The Group A tournament will be held in Dumfries, Scotland, from April 2 to 8 while Group B will be held in Brasov, Romania, from April 1 to 7.
South Africa will host the Group B qualification from January 13 to 18.
Both players are excited at being included in the national team.
“I am absolutely over the moon and excited about it – it’s surreal,” Wilson said. “This is my first national call-up.
“I’m hoping my skills will improve and that I will make the team again next year.
“I started playing in 2015 but played roller hockey as a teenager. Roller hockey is similar to ice hockey, just on concrete and not as fast.
“What I enjoy most about the sport is that you learn something new almost every time you get on the ice.
“You are continuously working on some small adjustment or trying to figure out the best way to do something.
“Then when you think you have it, the game changes.
“It is a dynamic sport in every sense of the word.
“It is quite incredible what the body is capable of.”
Goalkeeper Van der Merwe started playing ice hockey in mid-2017, starting as a forward before going into the goal.
“I have always had a passion for my position as goalie, but when I made the national team it was a dream come true.
“To be a good player you have to have the passion and you have to put in the effort.”
EP Ice Hockey coach Chris Dodd said: “Kelley and Rachel are looking great and are very committed to their training, on and off the ice.
“The EP Ice Hockey Association is very proud of these women’s achievements and we look forward to watching them compete against international teams.”