Vierumaki: Cherise’s Trip of A Lifetime
One of Irish ice hockey’s star teenage players, Cherise McCaughley, represented Ireland at the International Ice Hockey Federation’s (IIHF) 2010 Women’s Hockey Development Camp (HDC) which took place in Vierumaki, Finland recently.
This was the ninth HDC to be hosted by the Vierumaki Sports Institute and the third for women’s hockey. Ireland was one of 36 countries that took part in the camp and was represented by five participants. It is the second time that Ireland has participated in the women’s camp. Cherise McCaughley and Clara O’Reilly took part in the camp as players. Both Cherise and Clara were on a team of eighteen other players (two goalkeepers, six defenders and twelve forwards). The players on their teams came from countries as far as New Zealand, Japan and South Africa to some of Ireland’s neighbours like Great Britain, Spain and France. Each team was coached by a team of three coaches who all brought their experience and international flavour to the players. The players learned how it’s done in all the countries around the world!
These coaches were overseen by a Mentor Coach who has been there and done it all before in women’s hockey while they were assisted at all times by a student of the International Ice Hockey Centre of Excellence (IIHCE)
As players, both Cherise and Clara took part in daily practice sessions, both on and off the ice. Classroom sessions and team bonding exercises took place daily as the players learned lessons that will stand to them in life. They also played a game each day against one of the other teams. Both Cherise and Clara have played for the Dundalk Bulls Ladies team who have competed in league action over the past three seasons.
Both players have really come on leaps and bounds this past season as they took a lead role on the team which was reduced in numbers with the emergence of the Belfast Ice Vixens and Cubs. Cherise recently participated in the Agrofirma Tervete Ice Hockey Cup for the Ireland All Stars where she acquitted herself very well. In fact, the senior players on the team were very impressed with her maturity on the ice considering her young age.
Clara, on the other hand, comes from a sporting background as both she and her elder sister, Catherine; excel in a variety of sports including Martial Arts. Catherine actually attended the 2008 Women’s HDC so Clara knew exactly what awaited her in Vierumaki.
Speaking exclusively to www.iiha.org Editor, Martin Grant, Cherise told of her Finland bound. ‘It was challenging but it was the experience of a life time. The coaches had good advice and even the off ice had an effect on our performance on the ice, it was great to be there. Each coach had their own style of coaching, it was completely different to Ireland, but like I said each coach had there own views on coaching’ she said.
When asked what did she learn most from the camp, the skilful player said : ‘ I learned the different levels of hockey each girl had. It was great how quickly our team gelled together and how hard we worked as a team. I also learned the importance in eating healthy and keeping up simple exercises to help improve my game. There was a really high standard of skills among the girls, it was great to learn from them all, we all got on really well, we were a proper team’.
Asked what she will bring back to Ireland from the camp, the 15 year-old said ‘I learned a lot of off-ice drills to help with my performance on the ice and also positional drills on the ice, which I would love to share with the girls and also the team building skills’.
Because of the current temporary closure of The Dundalk Ice Dome, Cherise was at a disadvantage over the other participants but remained positive. ‘It took a while to catch up because of being off the ice for over two months, but as the week went on it all came back. It was a great experience and I wouldn’t change any of it, I would love to do it all over again. I’d like to thank the IIHA for all its help and assistance’, she added.