Student Jess Sprules will be joining the Okanagan Hockey School and Academy for their yearly training. She is the first girl to ever be selected to play for them.
Jess Sprules has just started her second year on the Sport and Exercise Science course at New College Swindon. Her love of sport goes beyond her studies though and her main focus outside of college is ice hockey and has been involved in the sport since the age of 12.
Jess’ skills were spotted by a Okanagan representative, during a game she was playing with the Swindon Cougars last season.
She became the first girl ever to be invited to play with Okanagan, who were founded in 2012 as a subsidiary of Okanagan Hockey School in Penticton, BC, Canada, the oldest and biggest hockey school in the world. The school is based in Swindon and provides seasonal hockey camps and a year-round academy programme, which combines an education with athletics at the highest level.
The team has travelled to Europe in previous years, but this year the camp is going back to its roots and will take place in Canada this October. Jess said: “This is a really big achievement to me; I’m the first girl ever to be invited to play for Okanagan. It’s a lot of pressure, but I’m ready to face any challenges that come my way.”
Jess is used to playing for the under 18 boys’ team, Swindon Cougars, where again she is the only girl to play. However, the three-week hockey camp with Okanagan may be a little more challenging. Players are instructed to train every day, with an ice session in the morning and gym training in the afternoon.
Jess is ready for the programme and looks forward to a future in ice hockey. She said: “It’s such a great opportunity to make contacts to join a team in the future, hopefully after completing my studies, I can head to Canada and get started on a career in ice hockey.”