Ava Boutilier, P.E.I. teen goalie, named to top 6 in Canada
Ava Boutilier, 15, aiming for 2018 Olympics in South Korea
A Charlottetown teen has just been named one of Canada's top six female goalies under the age of 18, bringing her one step closer to next year's World Championships, and maybe even the 2018 Olympics.
Ava Boutilier will be playing at the Summer Showcase in Calgary in early August.
If those tryouts go well, she could end up playing in the World Championships in 2016.
To prepare, Boutilier is training this summer six days a week, either on the ice or at the Andrews Hockey School gym.
At 15 years old, she was thrilled to get the call.
Boutilier knows the challenge ahead of her in Calgary. The roster goes from six goalies to three.
"Hopefully things keep going good now, I'm working hard, we'll see what happens," she said. "But I'm still an underage player so chances are, you know, a little slimmer for me, but I'm working hard and that's obviously the ultimate goal."
Boutilier says just making the Calgary tryouts means she's a possible pick for the next year's World Championship team. She also has her sights on the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea.
Friend and mentor
Swiss hockey player Phoebe Staenz, who is also training at the gym, is Boutilier's friend and mentor.
Staenz is the star forward who scored the tying goal during the Sochi 2014 bronze-medal game against Sweden, helping turn the game around.
Staenz first met Boutilier two years ago when Boutilier was in Grade nine and already showing promise.
"She was already a really good goalie then," Staenz said. "She's definitely going to be great and I really hope she makes the team. I really do believe in her."
Staenz's advice to Boutilier has been simple: train hard, and if you set your mind to it you can get there.
"I've kind of really taken those words to heart and have been training my butt off all summer, and on the ice and stuff. And so she's been a really great help that way," Boutilier said.
Boutilier is also getting some professional hockey advice from head trainer Jake Wolff who works with the Winnipeg Jets.
Charlottetown's Drew MacIntyre is also training at Andrews Hockey School right now and has giving Boutilier some tips.
MacIntyre has risen through the ranks of the American Hockey League, East Coast Hockey League and the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League to reach the NHL and has the experience to share with Boutilier.
The goalie cut happens on Aug. 17 in Calgary.