Is there such a thing as a good lie when it comes to your children? You can go either way on this one but in the case of 19 year old Abagael Thiessen a little stretching of the truth has paid off quite handsomely in her hockey career. She is one of 25 players invited to the Canadian National Women’s Development team camp in Calgary August 5th.
The graduate from Red Deer’s Sutter Fund Chiefs spent one year playing at the University North Dakota before that program was put in moth balls this past spring and she then has since landed a spot with St. Cloud State in Minnesota in the highly competitive Western Collegiate Hockey Association whose teams compete in Division l of the NCAA.
But it all started at the tender age of four as she was watching her older brother play hockey and asked if she could play too. She was signed up for the next season.
“My dad always tells me this story about after my first year of hockey I said ‘do I really have to play hockey again next year and they lied to me saying you are already signed up for next year so yeah you do, even though I wasn’t so they kept me in it and I’m pretty sure I’ve loved it every year since,” she said.
She mostly played on the boy’s teams growing up where she says she was forced to become a good skater because at a certain point the boys become bigger, stronger and faster, she said.
“I also learned more about the speed of the game and learning to play with some poise. I still bring that over to the girl’s game because you still have to be able to make a play when there’s clearly no hitting or body checking, your choices and decision making have to be that much quicker.”
Her experience in the college ranks will just add to her already high level of confidence gained through the years as she heads to this National camp to compete with some of the best young female players in the country.
She admits she has to take a step back and absorb what this invite to camp means for her hockey career and the easy answer for her goal heading in would be the reach the next level in the process for the 2022 Olympic squad.
“That seems pretty far off but we all have to kind of switch our mind set to that for a really big goal but just a small goal for me going into camp is maintaining confidence throughout the whole camp and being able to show them what I’ve got.”
She describes herself as a calm, puck-moving defenceman that’s reliable in her own end and can jump into the offence when needed.
Her parents get the credit when it comes to her make up as a person and athlete. She says a lot of her qualities she got from her mom but she never got to play the game like Abby has. Her dad coached her in those early, formative years so is that where the on-ice talent came from?
“Well my dad was a hockey player but I probably learned more from watching my brother play,” she joked.
She admits as the date creeps closer the stress level will rise but there will be some girls there she has played against over the years so it will relax her somewhat. It’s another step in her climb towards maybe wearing that Canadian jersey in 2022.
“Just actually getting invited to the camp, this past year it’s been more of a, I probably can do this rather than just oh I hope I can. You kind of switch your focus from being a hope to a want. “
Now that’s a person filled with confidence.