November 23, 2017 10:26 pm
Updated: November 24, 2017 4:28 pm

Saskatoon Stars Mackenna Parker’s Hockey Canada dream becomes reality

WATCH ABOVE: Saskatoon Stars' Mackenna Parker was named to the U18 Canadian Women's Hockey team that will be competing at the IIHF World Championships in Russia.

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Mackenna Parker had been dreaming of the chance to represent Canada in hockey her whole life. On Nov. 16, Hockey Canada released its Under 18 Women’s 23-player roster, and the Clavet product’s name was on the list.

“Thinking that all my work has paid off, and now I just want to enjoy it. I’ve worked hard to get where I am,” said Parker at Saskatoon Stars practice.

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The Canadian women’s hockey team will travel to Dmitrov, Russia in January for the 2018 U-18 International Ice Hockey Federation’s (IIHF) World Championships.

“To play with girls all across Canada, it’s amazing to feel like you can be a part of that with them,” said the 17-year-old forward.

But it hasn’t been an easy road. Last year, Parker tried out for Team Canada and made it to the last tryout stage, but was cut from the final team.

“Getting cut, I guess makes me realize I needed to work harder and I needed to be more focused. I knew what I was getting myself into this time, and I knew what I had to do to succeed,” Parker added.

Parker was determined to represent Canada from a very young age. When she was in Grade 2, she wrote about how she wanted “to be just like Hayley Wickenheiser” and she vowed to “never ever give up on this dream.”

“My whole life I can’t remember a time when I didn’t want to make Team Canada. It’s always been my dream,” said Parker, who leads the Saskatchewan Female Midget AAA Hockey League (SFMAAAHL) in virtually every scoring category.

“She’s such a great leader no matter what she’s doing. She never gives up on the ice, she’s always skating as hard as she can. And even in the dressing room, she’s positive and always bringing someone up who’s down,” Stars alternate captain Jordyn Holmes said.

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It’s also taken a lot of sacrifice and commitment for Parker to reach this level.

“Some of her friends are maybe thinking ‘oh it’s the weekend, lets go out and have some fun,’ she’s not really wired that way. And unfortunately, that’s sort of what it takes to make those teams, you have to really be committed for 365 days,” Stars head coach Greg Slobodzian added.

Despite all the recent success, Parker knows she still has a lot of areas of self improvement, especially if Canada plans on bringing home the gold for the first time since 2014.

“I just need to work hard when I don’t have the puck, and defensively, make sure that I’m helping out the defensemen all the time too, and just helping out the team, trying to be a good leader,” Parker said.

Canada opens the IIHF 2018 U18 World Championships against Team Russia on Jan. 6, 2018.

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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