Park girls hockey: Keys to take national stagePark junior Anna Keys has been selected to attend the 2012 USA Hockey Player Development Camp for a third consecutive summer.
By: Patrick Johnson, Sports Editor, South Washington County Bulletin
For a fourth straight year, a Park girls hockey player will get to show what she can do on a national stage.
Park junior Anna Keys has been selected to attend the 2012 USA Hockey Player Development Camp. It’s the third consecutive summer she’s earned a trip to the camp.
“It’s always special to be a part of the U.S.A. hockey program,” Keys said. “It’s really cool. I love it.”
A defender, Keys was previously selected to Select 15 and Select 16 National Camps. The elite USA Hockey Select 17 National Camp will be held July 20-26 at St. Cloud State University.
USA Hockey conducts annual Select Player Development Camps for young hockey players from across the country. The athletes are chosen from tryouts conducted within USA Hockey Districts, according to the organization. The goal is to attract the best players to the national program.
The camp also allows Keys to go up against the best girls hockey players in their age group in the nation.
“I’m definitely looking forward to it,” said Keys, who played boys hockey until she was a Pee Wee. “It’s always fun, because you get to see players from all over the country and you get to play with new people. It’s a good experience.”
Being chosen for the camp puts Keys on the radar of Division I colleges and could put her in a position to play internationally for USA hockey someday.
“It’s mostly to get you into college,” Keys said. “It helps get you an environment like it’s going to be in college. A lot of college scouts come and watch you. It’s a really good opportunity.”
Keys is one of four Park girls hockey players ever selected to the national program. 2012 graduate Allie Morse, who will play Division I hockey at Providence this winter, 2008 Park graduate Jac Daggit, who played for St. Cloud State, and Missy Elumba, who was a four-year player at Northeastern University, also participated in the camps.
There are many hockey players in the Keys family, including Anna’s older brother, Trevor, who graduated from Park in 2011 and her father, Doug, who is a coach at Park and played hockey almost his entire life — in college at Gustavus Adolphus and professionally in Europe. Also, Anna’s grandpa played hockey and two of her cousins both played Div. I women’s college hockey — at Ohio State and at Bemidji State.
The purpose of the camps is to identify, train, educate and evaluate the best hockey players in the country. Players from all over the United States comprise six teams that face off every day in front of USA Hockey and college hockey scouts, at the seven-day residence camp at St. Cloud State University.
To reach the final 102 players nationwide in her age groups, Keys took part in a six-phase selection process that began back in March and culminated with the “Final 54” held April 20 to 22 at the Plymouth Ice Center.
“We all have the same playing level,” Keys said. “It makes you a lot better, because we push each other really hard. There’s always the Minnesota girls and we love to go head-to-head against each other. We know each other from other camps and other teams. It’s pretty fun.”