Selects return with gold from Summer Sizzler

Cape Breton girls on the Atlantic Selects included (back, from left) Skylar Kennedy, Jessica MacLean, and Morgan Chranofsky. In front are (from left) Kaylee Beaton and Lauren MacDonnell. Missing is Kiena Pierro.

HALIFAX: A group of local girls had the chance to visit the United States due to their recent tour with the U19 and U16 Atlantic Selects. In terms of the U19 Selects, the girls brought home tournament gold.

“These kids never played together before, so it’s a challenge just to put them together to play in the tournament,” said coach Rufus Sweet, who can be found coaching Sir John A MacDonald high school when not helming the Selects.

“But when you spend 25 hours on a bus, you tend to get to know everybody pretty well. We had one girl from New Brunswick, and she didn’t know a soul. She came back with quite a few new friends.

“We tried to keep it simple, get everybody on the same page, and both teams seemed to adapt well.”

The girls attended the Summer Sizzler, a tournament running from July 13 to July 15 at the Ocean Ice Palace in New Jersey. The U19 girls won their division, going 3-1-1. The U16 girls went 2-1-1, finishing in third.

Local girls attending included Kaylee Beaton, Lauren MacDonnell, Kiena Pierro, Skylar Kennedy, Jessica MacLean, and Morgan Chranofsky.

The Selects arrived in New Jersey on July 12, and while there they had a chance to see Taylor Swift in concert. They also had a chance to indulge in on-ice bumper cars, one of the fun features of the Ocean Ice Palace.

Prior to arriving in New Jersey, the girls visited Chesapeake, Virginia where Sweet took them through a five-day training camp that included on-ice practice and dry-land training. With that was a fair bit of socializing. Sweet said the girls enjoyed some shopping, a beach day, a trip to the zoo, and a trip to Bush Gardens.

“It’s all about the experience,” he said. “We can’t change their game in a week, but maybe we can give them a better outlook to let them know being a team is more than just being on the ice.”