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Manitoba pros train next generation of goalies – Winnipeg Free Press

Manitoba pros train next generation of goalies – Winnipeg Free Press
Manitoba pros train next generation of goalies – Winnipeg Free Press

Is Manitoba the birthplace of female goalkeepers?

You could make a very good argument for that title, judging by the talent present at the Hockey For All Centre on Wednesday morning.

A total of four local puckstoppers from the Professional Women’s Hockey League served as instructors at the KC Elite Goaltending Camp.

MIKE DEAL / FREE PRESS

Kristen Campbell speaks to young puckstoppers on Wednesday during the Kristen Campbell Elite Goaltending Camp.

The all-star cast included: Brandon’s Kristen Campbell, the camp’s founder and a finalist for PWHL Goalie of the Year after her first pro season in Toronto; Elm Creek’s Corinne Schroeder (PWHL New York); Ste. Anne’s NCAA Women’s Frozen Four MVP Raygan Kirk (drafted last month by PWHL Toronto) and Winnipegger Logan Angers, who recently signed as a free agent with PWHL Ottawa.

“Myself, Schroeder, Logan, Raygan — all these girls were born in Manitoba, trained in Manitoba, played in Manitoba and now we’re going to play in the best professional league in the world,” said the 26-year-old Campbell, who has been a member of the national team since 2021.

“There’s just such great representation in the province and a lot of local girls can now aspire to do that one day. I think that’s really special now. We spoke yesterday and we asked them what their hockey dreams are and everything they said is now achievable. That’s never happened before. There was nowhere to go after university unless you were going to play in the Olympics.”

Enrollment for the four-day camp has grown from 28 participants a year ago to 40, and the event has attracted a wide range of players — from very young to teens — from across the country. Campers are trained in many modern coaching techniques on and off the ice.

“It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity. I loved it last year and this year we have four PWHL goalies,” said Abby Pastorius, a 15-year-old camp participant from Guelph, Ontario.

“There are so many things I can learn from these women. I want to improve so many of my skills, so anything I can learn from them would be great for me.”

Toronto’s Stephanie Hugh attended PWHL games during the inaugural season last winter and was inspired to spend part of her summer in Manitoba to work on her game.

“I wanted to learn from pros like Kristen Campbell and Schroeder,” said Hugh, 10. “I’m a huge fan. I think I only missed two games.”

Seeing PWHL Toronto games in person made Pastorius rethink what she thought was possible.

“My family and I bought season tickets and I was able to go to almost all the games. That definitely had an impact on us,” Pastorius said.

“It’s so great to see women playing professionally and it makes all of us young girls realise that we have a chance if we want to get that far. It’s definitely an eye-opener.”

Angers, a 24-year-old who recently wrapped up her five-year NCAA Division I hockey career at Quinnipiac University, embraces her status as a role model.