Athlete profile: Hockey: Emily Duchak

Hockey is a sport that Emily will be pursuing for years

Fraser Valley's Emily Duchak of Maple Ridge brings the puck into the Kootenay zone during the 2014 BC Winter Games. Fraser Valley took the game 8-0.

Fraser Valley's Emily Duchak of Maple Ridge brings the puck into the Kootenay zone during the 2014 BC Winter Games. Fraser Valley took the game 8-0.

Name: Emily Duchak Age: 13  Sport: Hockey – Female

Hometown: Maple Ridge

1. Why are you committed to your sport?

I don’t know what I would do if I didn’t play hockey. I have played for so long, and it is such an important part of my life. It is easy to be committed to something that you love to do. Even the days when I’m not at the rink, I will stick handle with my sister or watch hockey with my dad. Besides, everyone on my team is so close, and I always have fun when I am with them. I have realized that hockey is something that I can see myself doing for years to come. I have to be committed if I want to continue playing at a high level.

2. What are your goals for these Games and in sport?

I am always making goals for myself. For the games, I really want to take my play to the next level. I need to be able to push myself and my team even when we are under pressure. Everything I do on the ice needs to be faster and better than my competition. Our team already has chemistry, and I want to show this in the games. My expectations for myself and my hockey career are very high. The whole idea of a ‘hockey career’ is very overwhelming, however, I do have an idea of what I want to do. My main goal is to play for a college or university team.

3. How did you train and prepare for the BC Winter Games?

I have been preparing for the games since the initial tryouts. I have changed my fitness and diet plans in ways which will help me be in peak condition. I have been attending my team practices and games, basketball, spin classes, dry land and workout sessions.

4. What are your other activities are you involved in (other sports, arts, volunteering)?

I have lots of interests outside of hockey. This year I have played on the grade 8 basketball and volleyball teams at MRSS. I have had so much fun playing softball in the spring for the last few years. I love to play guitar, sing, write songs, and perform.

Please share any other interesting stories about you and your involvement in sport.

I have had so many experiences because of hockey. I travelled to Montreal and Toronto playing for Team Pacific in 2011 and 2012. In 2011, our team won the tournament in Quebec. In 2012, I was the assistant caption for Dynasty FHC, which won the Challenge Cup tournament. Just this year, I have been to Calgary and San Jose for my team, the Surrey Falcons. We were finalists in the Calgary tournament, and we brought home gold in San Jose. Hockey has allowed me to be a part of some amazing things!

Why did you want to try out and qualify for the 2014 BC Winter Games?

I wanted to be a part of the games for the experience. This is an amazing opportunity, and to be a part of it is very exciting. I want to be able to continue playing high-level hockey, and I think the games are a great way to get noticed. I tried out with almost everyone on my hockey team, and I am lucky to able to play with them during the games.

8. Who is your coach and what is the most important thing she/he has taught you?

I have one of the most amazing coaches. Mark Taylor, the coach of the Surrey Falcons, is my coach this year. I have only been on his team for one year, and he has already taught me so much. I think the most important thing he has taught me is to be confident. Since joining his team, I have gained so much confidence in how I play. He really does care about everyone on the team, and it shows. Even when I make mistakes, he tells me to trust the way I see the ice and believe in what I am doing.

9. Do you have a role model who has made an impact on your life (coach, teacher, family member, etc.)? If so, describe how they have impacted you.

The role models that have made the biggest impact on my life are my mom and my dad. They are great people to look up to. My mom is very active and healthy, and she helps me see the importance in this. She is always there for me. My dad is my at-home hockey coach. He helps me with school, and always makes me laugh. No matter what, I can always count on them to be there for me.

10. What do you consider to be your highest achievement (athletic, academic, or other)?

I consider my highest achievement to be my academics. I have been a straight A student ever since they started giving out letter grades. I feel like this is impressive considering the activities I do outside of school. I have learned time management and self-motivation skills because of this. It isn’t always easy doing reports on airplanes or finishing math homework in the car, but sometimes you do what you have to do.