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Hockey teen kicks it up a notch

After playing with boys for years, Micah Hart heads to girls' program
Micah Hart of Victoria starts Grade 10 this year at the Okanagan Hockey Academy in Penticton.

For 10 years, Victoria's Micah Hart has been playing minor hockey in the Peninsula program with the boys.

Now as a 15-year-old, Hart has decided that it's time to play an entire season with girls. Hart, a 5-foot-8 defenceman, was recruited by the Okanagan Hockey Academy in Penticton. She will start Grade 10 and hockey this week. Last year, she played for the Peninsula Eagles Bantam A team.

"I have always played with boys all of the time, and it seems very normal for me,'' said Hart, who was also selected to Team B.C.'s Under-18 women's team.

"When I was very young, I watched my brother Benn play hockey. I thought that it was cool to play hockey, and I wanted to be like him.

"I'm entering midget hockey this year, and there are no competitive teams on Vancouver Island. I decided that the best program for me would be going to the academy. I'm a little nervous about moving away from home at this age, but I'm also excited about the opportunity.''

Later this month, Hart will be in Vancouver for the U-18 team camp. The national championships are in November at Dawson Creek.

"Every year, the Under-18 team brings in four or five 15-year-old players to see how they will fit in with the team. I was fortunate enough to make the team, and I'm very excited about going to the camp and the nationals.''

The biggest change for Hart this year is that she will likely have a little more time to move the puck.

"When I'm playing with the boys, you always have to keep your head up because of the hitting. In girls' hockey, there is no hitting, and it is a totally different game. Girls' hockey is more about puck movement and puck possession. I have never been very much of a hitter, and the strengths of my game are skating and passing.''

Hart hopes that the direction she is taking will lead to a National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division 1 scholarship in the United States and a spot on Team Canada's women's team.

"In the league that I'm playing in this year, Team Canada scouts will be watching us all the time, and then in the spring, they will send out invites to the camp.''

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