Danielle Krzyszczyk, 16, doesn’t go out on Friday nights anymore. She doesn’t see her friends as often as she likes, and she spends hours driving from her home in St. Vital to the MTS Iceplex by Assiniboia Downs every day of the week.
But that’s why her dreams are coming true.
Krzyszczyk, a St. Mary’s Academy student entering Grade 12, is the only Manitoban to be invited to the selection camp for Hockey Canada’s Under-18 Hockey Team Selection Camp in Rockland, Ont., 30 minutes east of Ottawa, which started Aug. 10.
Krzyszczyk, who plays either centre or wing, said being the only Manitoban at the camp is scary and makes her nervous.
"Now I’m the only one able to represent the province," said Krzyszczyk, the St. Mary’s captain.
"I feel like there’s that background pressure of Hockey Manitoba, ‘you have to make this, you’re our only one.’ I just kind of feel that extra pressure."
But she hopes to prove to the coaches she deserves to be there.
"(I want to show them) I don’t quit," said Krzyszczyk. "That my strength really will get me somewhere. No one can take the puck from me."
To make it to the selection camp Krzyszczyk had to first be invited to the Hockey Canada Strength and Conditioning camp in May. When she found out she was invited, she actually thought she was in trouble.
"I was at school and my mom texted me ‘you need to call me right now,’" said Krzyszczyk. "I thought ‘oh God, who died?’ I was so scared. I thought ‘did I fail a test I don’t know about yet and they called you?’"
When her mom broke the news she was in shock and made sure her mom wasn’t joking.
From the Strength and Conditioning camp, coaches cut nine girls, one of whom was also from Winnipeg. This left Krzyszczyk the only player from Manitoba invited to the selection camp.
There are a total of 40 players from across Canada at the camp, which lasts eight days.
"On (Aug. 18) they are going to send 18 home, and 22 stay to play in the tournament in Lake Placid (N.Y.)" said Krzyszczyk.
The tournament in Lake Placid is a three-game series against the United States’ U18 team scheduled for Aug 20 to 25. From there, Krzyszczyk will have to stay in top shape as coaches will continue to evaluate players for the 2014 International Ice Hockey Federation U18 Women’s World Championship in April.
Krzyszczyk practises on-ice twice a week, but also does off-ice training five days per week.
As well as heading to the Team Canada selection camp, Krzyszczyk has a verbal agreement with Harvard University, as well as 29 other offers from universities in the United States and Canada.