Young Chesterville resident brings home the bronze from European hockey tournament

Zandbergen photo, Nation Valley News

Kelsey Smith
Nation Valley News

CHESTERVILLE — Hockey is the official game of Canada, and Chesterville is definitely being put on the map thanks to 13-year-old Maddie McCaffrey.

The Chesterville-area resident played with a mixture of Canadian and American teammates on the East Coast Selects “O” — recently returning home from a 10-day, nine-game European tournament, where the squad took home the bronze medal. The games of the World Selects Chamonix 2017 Invitational were played in two venues on either side of the French-Italian border — in Chamonix, France and Courmayeur, Italy.

McCaffrey spoke about her time there and said it was a “good experience … I made lots of new friends who I still keep in contact with.” She later added that it was quite comical having to “Google translate conversations with Germans.”

Al Thivierge, Maddie’s step father — a former assistant coach of McCaffrey’s regular Peewee A team, the Cardinal-based ‘Rideau-St. Lawrence Thunder — tagged along with the Selects to the international tournament.

Although soft-spoken and shy in person, McCaffrey is a force on the ice. She’s her regular team’s top scorer, and in her opinion, a “very aggressive and hard-hitting” player. Primarily playing centre, she often found herself shifted to the wings during the European tourney, where she scored one goal during the tune-up round robin and potted another during the championship games; unfortunately the latter goal did not stand.

“I got one goal but it didn’t count,” the light went off but the referees called it back because the goalie “sat on it,” laughed McCaffrey.

Playing hockey for as far back as she can remember, McCaffrey absolutely adores the sport and finds it fun and competitive.

She’s due to compete next with the Selects in Legacy Global Sports’ Ponytail tournament in Toronto.

It was also Legacy that assembled the Selects team and organized the trip to Europe, for which the players and their parents individually raised funds. McCaffrey, a student at St. Mary Catholic High School in Brockville, landed a number of sponsors after earning her spot with the squad. She successfully tried out for the team in upstate New York late last December.

She plans on continuing to improve her game and hopes to be good enough to get scouted by colleges for scholarships and possibly pursue a career in hockey.

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