Stepping Onto Big Stage A Nervous Affair For Nationals First Timer

The first shift was a real eye-opener for Chloe Harvey.

The 14-year-old Rochester (N.Y.) Monarchs player had never been on a stage like this one. The pressure started to mount in her first trip to the Toyota-USA Hockey Girls’ Tier I National Championships.

“My heart was pounding really fast. It was very scary,” Harvey admitted. “I haven’t experienced something like this in years. There weren’t as many people, which definitely calmed me down. But just with the whole experience of everybody watching, it was very nerve-wracking.”

Once Harvey got into the flow of the game, her nerves subsided and it was time to play the game she loves.

“I can tell when she’s relaxed, but she was a little tight,” Monarchs’ coach Gary Moss said of his team’s captain. “When she’s relaxed and everything, she’s one of the top players around.”

Prior to Nationals, the largest event Harvey had ever competed in was the Quebec International Peewee Tournament two years ago as a member of the Buffalo Junior Sabres 12 & Under boys’ squad.

Check out the Digital Edition to view all 2015 Toyota-USA Hockey National Championship winners.

Playing at Nationals is something Harvey had set her sights on at the beginning of the season. After playing with boys’ teams in and around the Buffalo area, Harvey was happy to make the transition to girls’ hockey last season.

Two days into the tournament, the freshman at Fairport High School was still trying to soak in the entire experience. Playing 800 miles from home can be a daunting task, but it helped having her parents and younger brother with her to share in the journey.

“I think it’s pretty neat, because my younger brother plays, too,” said Harvey, who scored the overtime winner against Little Caesars to wrap up the preliminary round. “He gets to watch me play and he gets to take it all in with me. I think that’s one of the best parts.”

Every player worth his or her salt is hoping to use their experience at Nationals as a steppingstone in their hockey careers. Harvey is no exception. She has aspirations of one day playing Div. I college hockey and hopes that the exposure of playing in a national tournament will help her catch a coach’s eye.

Getting to the Div. I level is a major commitment, but an experience like playing at Nationals is an important step in that journey.

“I know that to get there you have to put in the work,” she said. “And this is where it starts.”

Greg Bates is a freelance writer in Green Bay, Wis.


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