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Skating with the best

Alexandria’s McKenzie Revering scans the defense on a breakaway against New Ulm at Ridder Arena right before she scores the game-winning goal at the state tournament on February 20, 2014. (Blaze Fugina/Echo Press)

Alexandria’s McKenzie Revering said having confidence in herself out on the ice is something she has sometimes struggled with in the past. 

That’s natural for young players who are trying to fit in on a varsity team while playing against athletes as much as five years older than them.

Revering has been in that situation as a defenseman for the Cardinal girls’ hockey team since she joined the varsity in eighth grade. She was able to get more comfortable playing as a freshman this past season. Now her latest accomplishment should do nothing but boost her confidence even more as a sophomore.

Revering was one of just 20 hockey players in Minnesota who has been selected to compete at the 2014 USA Hockey Girls’ Select 15 National Player Development Camp later this month.

“I was kind of unsure,” Revering said of her chances going into the tryouts. “I just went into it and tried to have confidence and work really hard…I know some coaches, they like the hard worker over skill, and I think hard work is easy to notice. I knew if I didn’t have the skill to beat every single person that I could just work my hardest against all of them.”

The beginning stages of the selection process started at a tryout camp in March as part of the Reebok Minnesota Hockey High Performance Program. Revering said players had to make it through five different cuts as hundreds of athletes were dwindled down to the top 20 who made the camp.

Alexandria head coach Blair Hovel said her work ethic is one of the things that would make her stand out in a tryout situation, but Revering has plenty of skill to pair with that on the ice. She had one of the Cardinals’ biggest goals of the season this past winter when she scored the overtime winner against New Ulm at the state tournament.

“She can see the ice really well,” Hovel said. “She’s one of the few who does skate with her head up all the time and shoots with her head up. She’s always seeing the ice so she’s making the right move all the time. She has a great shot, her skating stride is unbelievable. She works hard to make sure she gets the most out of her stride and just her ability to pass is really good too.”

Revering had a chance to showcase that to coaches throughout all the phases of the tryout process. When all was said and done, she was thrilled to make the cut and have an opportunity to keep learning from some top college coaches from around the country.

“I’m super excited,” she said. “It’s a great goal that I just accomplished, and it feels great. It’s like all your hard work just paid off.”

The national camps are used by USA Hockey to identify the top performers in different age groups for possible opportunities to represent the country at advanced levels of national and international competition. Most of the girls on the Minnesota Select 15 roster are from schools in the Twin Cities area.

The athletes will travel to Blaine to compete in a Pre-National training camp on July 8-11 at the Schwan Super Rink. The one-week national camp will then take place in St. Cloud July 18-24. The athletes will train with college coaches there and skate with talent from all over the country.

A lot of the players at the camp have goals of playing college hockey at the highest level, and it’s no different for Revering. She called playing DI hockey “one of my biggest goals.” She’ll have an opportunity to be seen by a lot of coaches at the national camp who have an idea of what it takes to get to that level.

“I think it will help me a lot with my confidence,” Revering said. “It just makes me want to work even harder now.”

Eric Morken

Eric Morken is the sports and outdoor editor at the Echo Press and Osakis Review newspapers in Douglas County, MN. Follow him on Twitter at echo_sports.

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