Hockey Canada’s Summer Showcase this week in Calgary
By Pat Payton
CALGARY, Alta. – St. Marys native April Clark is one of 21 Canadian university hockey players competing for the U SPORTS women’s all-star team here at Hockey Canada’s Summer Showcase this week.
It was no surprise the 22-year-old Clark was named to the U SPORTS team. In her fourth season with the Western Mustangs last year, the hard-working forward earned nearly every possible individual award in Ontario university women’s hockey. She was named the OUA Player-of-the-Year, OUA Forward-of-the-Year, First Team OUA all-star, and fired 20 goals and picked up 33 points to lead the OUA in scoring in 2018-19.
Clark was also a candidate for National Player-of-the-Year in CIS women’s hockey.
At the London Sports Celebrity Dinner last April, Clark received Western’s prestigious Female Athlete-of-the-Year Award to cap off an outstanding season.
Six games in Calgary
Clark left for Calgary and the 2019 Summer Showcase last Friday. There was fitness testing the first couple of days. “It’s such an honour to be selected, with so many good hockey players in our league,” she told the Independent. “It’s nice to be invited again.”
The U SPORTS all-star team is playing a total of six games, with the event expanding to include teams from Russia, Japan and France as well as a pair of Team Canada squads as part of the National Women’s Development Team selection camp.
The U SPORTS all-stars played Russia on Sunday, Japan on Tuesday, and France on Wednesday of this week. They play the Canadian No. 1 squad Thursday (Aug. 8), the Canadian No. 2 team Friday, and Japan on Saturday.
One of five returning players
Clark is one of only five Ontario players on the university team, and one of five returning skaters. “Our team is pretty young this year,” she noted.
Marc-André Côté, head coach of the Moncton Aigles Bleues, is serving as the team’s bench boss, after being an assistant coach with the U SPORTS all-stars the last two years. He is joined by returning assistants Greg Bowles, of the Ottawa Gee-Gees, and Terry Rhindress, of the Mount Allison Mounties.
Since debuting at the Summer Showcase in 2016, the U SPORTS all-stars sport a 5-5-2 record in 12 games.
“The Summer Showcase is an amazing opportunity to test some of U SPORTS’ finest against internationally-recognized talent,” Lisette Johnson-Stapley, chief sport officer at U SPORTS, stated in a press release. “It is now more important than ever to give women a platform of high-performance hockey. We remain committed to the growth and development of our student-athletes and the women’s game in Canada.”
Clark, meanwhile, who is studying nursing, will be returning to Western this fall for her fifth and final season with the Mustangs.