Grace Graham earns her spot on FHS boys' hockey team
Coach Tim Smith says Grace Graham is a skilled player and is respected by her teammates for her hard work
The Fredericton High School boys' hockey team looks a little different this year — that's because it's not made up entirely of boys.
Grace Graham is the first girl to play for the team.
"I grew up playing hockey in Fredericton, usually with the boys -- well always with the boys," she said.
The Grade 12 student spent the last two years playing for Rothesay Netherwood School but wanted to finish high school at home while strengthening her game.
Tim Smith, her coach, said he wasn't surprised when she came out for the team.
"She's out at practice every day working just as hard and is just as skilled or even more so than some," he said.
"And it doesn't matter when she's in a drill, she's competing hard and the guys have a lot of respect for that."
It wasn't a surprise for her teammates either, many of whom she's played with before.
Grant Sheppard, the team's assistant captain, said everyone on the team knows how hard Graham plays when she's on the ice.
"I think it comes from knowing Grace and knowing the skill in and the ability she has and playing with her all throughout our minor hockey careers, so it's expected of her and she's played along right beside us so we're used to it," he said.
Already the right winger has been approached by universities to play next year, though she's not committed.
"I've definitely put in the most work of anything in my life into hockey ... I shoot pucks in my backyard and I train and I miss social events and it's all for hockey and I love it," she said.
In pre-season exhibition games she has one goal and three assists.
"When you put a team together you always want people to be good teammates and having this situation just brings that to light more so," Smith said.
"I believe we've maybe hit a little bit of history here."