Belmont's Amanda Shaw might feel like third time is a charm.
Actually, luck and charms had very little to do with it. The reason Shaw was selected to Canada's under-22 women's team was all about preparation and hard work.
Shaw, a defenceman with Boston University, tried on two previous occasions to make the under-22 team but came up short.
This time she'll be heading to Ravensburg, Germany, on New Year's Eve to take part in the European Air Canada Cup. Canada has won it each year since the tournament's inception in 2003.
"This is a real big deal for me," Shaw said from Boston. "I've been trying out for the last three years to make this team and the first two I failed. So I've been working hard for the last two years because I found out what I needed to do to play on this team. You just have to work hard."
Shaw, 20, was born and raised in Belmont. She's in her third year of business at BU. As a freshman, she led all blueliners in scoring. She leads Boston defencemen this year with four goals and 10 assists.
And while she was disappointed she couldn't crack the under-22 team roster before this year, she benefitted from the experience.
"I got invited the first time three years ago but I was just coming into university and had a lot going on. It definitely was a learning experience," Shaw said. "I tried again last year but I knew there weren't many defence openings but I learned from that as well. This year, I knew there were some openings so I worked really hard this summer."
Shaw met with the coaches after each tryout camp and listened to their advice.
"I really focussed on my fitness," she said. "That's what I noticed you had to do to be successful and make the team after the first year. I really worked on my fitness. I took the feedback they gave me for on-ice improvements and focussed on that in during my games and practices."
The under-22 team is a step away from national team recognition. Just making this team is a difficult process. It involves a week-long conditioning camp in May in which there is no hockey played.
Two months later, there was an on-ice camp, this time in Toronto, which lasted 10 days. A team is selected from that camp and this year, it played a three-game series in Lake Placid against the U.S. side in August. Management continues to monitor the progress of the players as they go through their season with their regular teams.
There is one other local product on that under-22 team. Londoner Mallory Deluce, a freshman at the University of Wisconsin, was also selected. Deluce has 14 points in 20 games for Wisconsin. Last year, she played in the National Women's Hockey League. Before that, she was a two-time most valuable player in the Provincial Women's Hockey League, winning the scoring title one year with 135 points in 67 games.
Shaw played her minor hockey in Aylmer before switching to girls' hockey when she was 13. She played with the B.A.D. Girls Hockey Association (Belmont, Aylmer and Dorchester) before moving to the London Devilettes.
Shaw's thrilled to finally get a chance to represent her country internationally.
"It's a great honour," she said. "You dream of wearing your nation's jersey from the moment you put on skates," she said. "My expectations are really high. I talked to the girls on the team who played in previous years and they say it's really good hockey and a fun time. I'm really looking forward to it."
The completion of Shaw's dream would be to wear the national team jersey but she knows how difficult it is to get to the top.
"It's a process," Shaw said. "(The coaches and management) log your progress and you always get feedback from them. You never know when you're going to fall off the radar, so you have to keep working hard because they are always tracking you.
"From there, it's the world team and Olympic team, if you are lucky enough. Of course, it's something I want to work towards. Every time you are in the gym or on the ice, you have to look forward to that, you have to look to the future."
Shaw said she feels the butterflies.
"I'm nervous," Shaw said. "But this is a great opportunity for me and I'm going to take everything I can out of it."