KEEP AN EYE OUT FOR THIS
YOUNG RISING HOCKEY STAR WITH
Young promising hockey star Britni Smith with the
Port Perry Novice 'A' team about 1996.
Britni Smith lives, eats and breathes hockey - at least it almost seems that way when you ask Jay and Aldon, proud parents of their young hockey star.
The Smith family, who reside in Utica, definitely know the number of hockey hours involved to achieve a hockey dream. A dream far beyond any expectations they could have imagined when their youngster donned skates for the first time.
Countless hours spent travelling to various arenas, up at the crack of dawn for early morning games at the rink and the cold winter mornings when a bed was far more inviting! This of course, also comes with the reality of the heavy cost of playing this great Canadian game.
The Smiths have three daughters. Their eldest, Meghan, is an accomplished athlete on the soccer field and is currently finishing her Masters degree at Queen’s University. Meghan played three years with the ‘York Yeomen’ varsity girls team, capturing the silver medal at the Nationals last year.
Next is 20 year-old Britni, who is currently attending St. Lawrence University in New York and is in her second year of a four year hockey scholarship. The youngest, Madison, is following her sister Britni in the pursuit of the game of hockey. Madison is playing on the North Durham Blades in the midget division and enjoying this great game as well.
Sports for the Smith girls is a way of life and they have all been able to live out their dreams on the field or ice over the years as well as developing a strong sense of commitment and ambition to the sports they love to play.
The journey for all of them to date has been a whirlwind of activity, providing the family with some great adventures and challenges along the way.
The hockey culture has given the family opportunities to travel to different parts of Ontario and it’s easy to see that Britni has built a solid hockey resume since she first laced up a pair of skates.
Her mom and dad discovered they really did have a hockey player in the making when Britni was playing in the Port Perry Minor Hockey Association during 1995/96. She played her first season in the tyke division with the boys.
Playing with the boys, Britni displayed grit, drive and a good attitude both on and off the ice, and this has taken her far. In the years that followed that first season Britni’s passion and skills kept unfolding and developing and the raw talent that showed on the ice was quickly noticed.
She played three years with the ‘Novice A’ team in the O.M.H.A. circuit with her male peers, honing her strength and skills. This development landed her a playing position with the Lakeridge Bullets triple ‘A’ boys team and from 2000 to 2002 she played with an Uxbridge Peewee ‘A’ team, again with the boys.
Britni’s road to success continued, when in 2002/03 she moved to the girls’ hockey circuit joining the Durham West ‘A’ Bantam team. Here her strong skills helped power the team to win gold at the Provincials in 2002.
The following season she moved closer to her dream of playing National hockey when she earned a birth on a Markham-Stouffville midget team. This program gave Britni’s hockey talent a boost and helped develop the skills she would need to pursue her dream of playing for Canada.
After two more years in Markham, playing with an Intermediate ‘AA’ team which qualified for the Provincials, she was recognized as a top rated defense player and was invited to Team Ontario’s ‘Under 18’ tryouts.
Britni was successful in being chosen to the ‘Women’s Red’ team and moved to a higher level of competition. This team certainly put her on the hockey map when the team brought home the gold medal that year at the National Championships, hosted in Salmon Arm, British Columbia.
In 2006 Team Canada’s ‘Under 22’ team invited Britni to camp. She cracked the line-up that year and she’s now a senior on the team for 2008-2009.
One of the many highlights of her still young career was when she scored her first international goal during her first year as a rookie, against Japan.
Her new team participated in two Air Canada Cup tournaments, held in Germany, where they captured the gold medal both years. Britni hopes to participate in her third Canada Cup tournament this year when the team will travel to Switzerland and Germany.
Playing hockey in Port Perry is something that Britni remembers fondly, particularly when she was captain of the Rebels High School hockey team in 2006. That was her final year of playing on the team. She graduated from high school as an Ontario Scholar and had made the honour role in all four years she attended the school.
After high school, Britni’s talents landed her a full hockey scholarship to St. Lawrence University, in Canton, New York. She moved to Canton in 2006 and now travels back and forth with her school and the ‘Under 22’ team.
Britni works hard with both her athletics and academics, studying Psychology and Kinesiology and hopes to someday be able to use these skills as an athletic therapist.
Britni’s hockey talent helped put her team, the St. Lawrence Saints, on the hockey radar in the U.S.A. With the addition of her to the team, in 2007 the Saints advanced to the Frozen Four in Lake Placid, advancing to the consolation finals. And, on a personal level, Britni was named the Saint’s Rookie of the Year. She was also selected for the ECAC (Eastern College Athletic Conference) rookie ‘All Star’ team as well as making the ECAC ‘Academic’ team.
Although it seems that Britni’s hockey has only been on the ice, she also has had a successful career on the ball hockey court. She played from 2004-2007 in the Oshawa Minor Ball Hockey Association and in 2004 won bronze at the Women’s Provincial ‘B’ tournament, where she was named tournament MVP. She also played with the Toronto Devils Women’s ball hockey team at the women’s World Cup in Pittsburgh, where they won the Silver Medal and she was the top scorer of the tournament.
In 2006 she was a member of team Canada Women’s Ball hockey team that represented Canada in the Inaugural Women’s World Cup Championships in Germany where the team won gold and she was named most valuable defenseman. What a dream!
By Dave Roulston
Special to Focus on Scugog