Annie King’s home base is Saskatchewan as she plays with the Notre Dame Hounds AAA squad in the Saskatchewan Female Midget AAA Hockey League.
But the born-and-bred Yellowknifer is about to break on to the world stage and she couldn’t be more excited.
The 17-year-old is a member of Team Canada’s roster for the U-18 Women’s World Hockey Championship in Slovakia next month. Hockey Canada published the official roster on Monday but King has known for several days beforehand that she was going to be on the place to Bratislava, the host city.
“I am so thrilled, over the top,” she said. “I’ve known for the past couple of weeks and it was awful having to wait to share the news with friends and family and celebrate with the people who helped get me to where I am.”
Making the team was a two-year process which began with what’s known as a long list. That list, compiled by Hockey Canada, contained 60 names which was eventually whittled down to the 23 that will represent Canada in Slovakia.
“The final decision (on the roster) was nationals earlier this year,” said King.
King began her career in the Yk Minor Hockey Association and worked her way through the ranks to become one of the best female hockey players to ever come out of the city. She played with Team Saskatchewan at the Canada Winter Games this past February but before that, she was a member of the Team North program that played at the 2015 and 2016 National Aboriginal Hockey Championships.
Dan Schofield knows King better than most players as he coached her on several of the Yellowknife Wolfpack teams which traversed around the western part of North America.
He said King deserves this chance.
“She’s a self-made hockey player,” he said. “She’s always worked hard at practices, both on-ice and off-ice, and made herself into a great hockey player. She always had the potential to make it on to the national team and I was always pulling for her.”
Schofield also thinks there’s a reason why King worked as hard as she did.
“I cut her from an atom team once,” he said. “I think from that point, she did whatever she had to do to become a better player and a more intense player. She and Anna MacCara always stood heads and shoulders above the rest but it takes a lot of talent to make it to where she’s at now.”
“I owe a lot to Dan,” said King. “He gave me countless opportunities to become a better player and so a big part of this is because of him.”
And yes, King confirmed being cut from that atom team was a major motivator.
Even though she’s called Saskatchewan home for the past four years, King still considers herself a Northerner and thinks about Yellowknife all the time.
“I miss it every day,” she said. “There’s been so many people sending messages and my mom’s Facebook page has been dinging all day long.”
King and the rest of Team Canada will depart for Slovakia on Dec. 18 and will get right to work with exhibition games planned in advance of the tournament start on Dec. 26.