Hitting the big time

KIRK PENTON -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 7:22 AM ET

Stacey Corfield realized she had hit the big time in hockey when she looked between the bars of her goalie mask and saw Hayley Wickenheiser bearing down on her.

Corfield, the starting netminder for the University of Manitoba Bisons, was participating in Hockey Canada's inaugural national women's program goaltending camp last weekend in Calgary.

And to give the goaltenders the stiffest test possible, national team players like like Wickenheiser, Vicky Sunohara and Kelly Bechard were the ones firing the pucks.

Corfield said Wickenheiser, arguably the best women's hockey player in the world, got a few pucks past her, but not all of them.

"It went both ways," Corfield said. "But it was fun. It was interesting. It was nice to at least see what it's like.

"... I learned quite a bit. Going to a camp like that kind of exposes your weaknesses a little more. I had the best female players in Canada shooting on me."

Corfield was in Calgary because she's on the radar for Canada's under-22 women's squad, which is the last stop before the national team.

"That's the place to show what you've got, so that they'll look at you for the senior women's team," Corfield said.

MAIN CAMP

There were eight under-22 goalies at the camp, including Corfield, and four of them will find out early next month if they're going to the team's main camp in Toronto in August.

Corfield, 19, was the third-youngest puck stopper in Calgary, and she will at least have another crack at the under-22 squad next year if she doesn't get an invitation this time around.

"It feels pretty good," she said, "knowing that they're looking."

But the pride of Gillam believes she made a solid impression in front of the Hockey Canada staff last weekend -- after her nerves calmed down, of course.

"It was a bit of an adjustment," she said. "My first ice time I was a little shaky, just because I was getting used to everything.

"I felt I got stronger as I went, and I finished well, and I left it all out there, so I'm not disappointed with how I did."

Corfield was born in Winnipeg, but her family moved to Gillam when she was a baby. They lived in Gillam until moving back to Winnipeg when Corfield was in Grade 9.

She attended Dakota Collegiate and then moved on to the U of M. Corfield, in her sophomore season this past winter, led the Bisons to a bronze medal at the national championship.

She was also named U of M's female athlete of the year and a Canada West first-team all-star.


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