For The Community Press
KAPUSKASING – The Esso Cup held from April 21st to 27th in Sudbury was a showcase of the best Midget-aged women’s hockey players in Canada. Of that group was Kap native, Alexe Clavelle, who’s family name is synonymous with the sport in her hometown. She hopes to make her mark in a unique way in the coming years.
Reporting on hockey requires a specific attention to stats, systems and game plans. But when the chance arises to cover the human side of an event, it’s very hard to say no. Alexe Clavelle had a monumental showing at the tournament, finishing third best scorer with 6G-5A-11PTS in 7GP and a silver medal as a part of the Sudbury Lady Wolves.
Behind those numbers lie the determination and work ethic of an entire squad that got it’s ticket to the dance by hosting it. For Clavelle, it was an indescribable experience.
“Words can’t describe it. It was really fun to know that a small northern Ontario team can compete with top Canadian teams,” she says.
Was she surprised by her team making to the gold-medal game? If you asked that question to the other players, they would’ve all said the same thing.
“Yes and no! We knew that if we played our best, we were able to make the finals. But it was also hard because we hadn’t won a single tournament all year. So we knew that there were stronger teams and some equally as strong as us,” adds Clavelle.
Said game was accessible to hockey fans across the nation as it was broadcasted on TSN and RDS. Knowing the communities along highway 11 were following her every move, her team got a bit of a boost.
“We got a lot of support on Facebook or simply by text. I personally find that it’s great when your hometown is watching, following and cheering you own. I think it helped us a lot,” she explains. “We were all surprised because we knew the Esso Cup was a big deal, but we didn’t think it was THAT big. […] The week of, we kind of realized. Like…woah.”
One of the memories that constantly replays in her mind is the sound of the crowd. That is what she says, despite the nervousness and stress she felt during the first game played by the Lady Wolves that week. Once having reached the final, she was able to leave it in the dressing room.
Clavelle is far from being done with the sport. Thanks to hard work in the classroom while living away from home, she received an invitation from the University of Ottawa to suit up for the Gee Gees this autumn.
Just as her brother Brandon, who currently plays for the Charlottetown Islanders in the QMJHL, the long roadtrips and months away from the nest prepared her for the schedule of a high-level athlete.
“It’s been three years now that I live away from home. I know I won’t get homesick and I know I can live elsewhere. I’ve played against older girls last year at different levels so I think I’m ready to play.”
She will be studying in health sciences, hoping to one day come back and inspire young players to follow their own dreams.
“I had a coach that was also a young woman, who had another job and she played university hockey. She was a good example to those that wanted to pursue university. You can do it and you can come back to your hometown to coach younger girls.”
As did those before Clavelle, she wants to give back to a sport that allowed her to live so many great moments like the Esso Cup,