TRURO, N.S. – Lindsey Smith remembers her first year of organized hockey.
It didn’t go quite as planned.
“When I first started playing, I couldn’t even go on the ice, I couldn’t even stay focused, so my parents took me out of it for a year when I was in novice and then I came back,” she laughed.
These days, however, it’s hard to keep her off the ice.
The Onslow resident is one of the top female defencemen in the province, and was recently named to the Nova Scotia team that will compete at the Canada Winter Games in Red Deer, Alta., in February.
“It’s the most exciting thing that’s happened to me in a long time,” said Smith, 17. “It’s always been a dream of mine, so I’m just extremely excited and cannot wait ’til February.”
The Canada Games won’t be the first time Smith has represented her province. She has been a member of the Hockey Nova Scotia High Performance Program for the past three years and has worn the blue and white at three Atlantic Challenge Cup tournaments in Moncton, winning gold in 2016 (U-16) and 2018 (U-18) and bronze in 2017 (U-18).
Smith is in her third year patrolling the blueline for the powerhouse Pictou County Subway Selects female midget AAA team. Last year, she won provincial and Atlantic titles to earn a berth at nationals with the Selects. This season, Pictou County is again one of the top teams in the league.
“It’s been an amazing experience,” she said of the Selects program.
“It is definitely top-notch. We practise twice a week but we do lots of off-ice (training) and we also do fitness testing, and practices are just always extremely hard and no fooling around, really; it’s all business.”
Smith, a Grade 12 student at CEC, plays in all situations with the Selects, including power-play minutes and shorthanded. Her coach, Craig Clarke, said her speed and tenacity are big parts of her game.
“Her game has matured a lot over the years, too,” he said. “She’s become a very good all-around defenceman – offensively and defensively.”
Smith started skating at age five when she lived in Barrie, Ont. After moving to Nova Scotia, she played minor hockey in the West Colchester association with the Debert Cobras. She later played at the AAA atom level in Truro and switched to girls’ hockey in Pictou County when she reached the bantam level.
She said her hockey idols are national team members Blayre Turnbull, of Stellarton, and Halifax’s Jill Saulnier. She also looks up to Julia Scammell, of Greenfield, who she was a midget AAA teammate with during the 2016-17 season. Scammell is currently a sophomore defenceman at the University of New Hampshire (NCAA, Division 1).
“We were really close two years ago and she’s always been a role model to me, as well, and I’ve always looked up to her, so it was amazing being able to play with her and see how successful she is now.”
Smith’s future plans include Canadian university or NCAA hockey. She has been in contact with AUS schools and D-3 colleges in the U.S. but hasn’t made a decision yet on where she will play next season.
Smith will be joined on the Canada Games squad by Selects teammates Landyn Pitts and Ella MacLean, both of Antigonish.