Fryer returns from international tourney with gold medal


By Joel Charron

While in the U14 World Selects Invitational Hockey Tournament, Erica Fryer wrote the initials “PH or GO” on her stick.

Those initials stood for “Play Hard or Go Home” a phrase the 11-year-old kept close to her heart as she helped bring home a gold medal.

Fryer was part of the Michigan-based West Coast Selects (WCS) hockey team and originally made the team out of over 200 girls that attempted at a Jan. 1 tryout in Detroit. The tournament ran April 30-May 3 in Prague, Czech Republic.

“It was really fun,” said Fryer. “I met a lot of girls from different countries.”

Fryer said she met several players from the Czech Republic, Finland, Sweden and the United States.

After playing in nearly ten games, with each goalie from the WCS playing in every game, Fryer said she was please on how she played, stating she faced some stiff competition overseas.

“There were so tough team over there,” she said.

In round-robin play the WCS did not lose a game in regulation time.

The West Coast Selects faced off against the U15 national team from the Czech Republic. Despite

Erica Fryer returned from the U14 World Selects Invitational Hockey Tournament with a gold medal around her neck and a whole picutre album full of memories.

a roughly three year age difference between the two teams, WCS and the Czech Republic ended regulation tied at two. After a scoreless overtime, WCS scored three times in the shootout against the Czech Republic’s zero.

“The Czech Republic team did they thing they could to win that game,” said Fryer’s father, Rick. “They were a very physical team.”

Rick compared the Czech Republic team to a bantam minor team.

The finals saw the East Coast Selects from Ontario square off against the WCS, with WCS coming out on top 4-3.

“It felt pretty good to beat the two teams that beat us before,” said Fryer. “It was really cool. Our whole team jumped off the bench.”

The final round-robin game against Finland as well as the semi-finals and finals were all held the same day. The team left the hotel at 9 a.m. and did not return until roughly 11 p.m. that night.

As a gesture of international friendship, Rick said he helped craft sticks with a Team Canada and a West Coast Selects logo on the paddle. They gave it to opposing teams including Sweden, Finland and the Czech Republic as a gifts with most goalies saying they were going to save the sticks instead of using them.

Off the ice, the team went to a mountain top in Innsbruck, Austria where snow was on the ground yet people were sun bathing, to castles in both Prague and in Germany and also visited other sites.

“It’s very different over there,” said Fryer. “Bicycles were everywhere. Most people in Canada drive cars, over there most people ride bikes.”

There was no rest for the weary as Fryer is currently trying out for teams in both LaSalle and Brantford. Immediately upon their return from Prague, the Fryers were busy with tryouts on both Saturday and Sunday.

After competing in a high level international tournament, Fryer said she has grown as a hockey player.

“I’ve become a little more independent,” she said.

Rick praised the Czech Republic, stating the host team did an “amazing job” with the players, coaches and parents.

“It was an amazing experience for anybody to go through as a parent and as a player,” said Rick. “We are very proud of Erica’s accomplishments so far.”

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