Samantha Gorman plays hockey simply for the love of the game and the thrill of competition. Gorman, a goaltender with the North York Knights Midget A squad, will be the only female competing at the Greater Toronto Hockey League’s 2017 Midget All-Star Festival.
“I thought that was a really great opportunity that the GTHL has given to me. I’m very happy about it. I played a year up last year so I remember that a couple of my teammates went and they said it was a lot of fun,” said Gorman. “Honestly it feels very good to be named one of the best goalies, it’s an honour I feel any player would be proud of regardless, so I’m glad the GTHL gave it to me.”
Looking up to her older brother growing up, Gorman always wanted nothing more than to follow in his footsteps.
“My brother started as a goalie really young so I wanted to be just like him, so that’s why I got into it. My dad was really supportive, he drove me to all my practices and games, paid for all my coaching and training and was nothing but supportive all these years.”
Gorman’s switch to playing in the GTHL came at the recommendation of her coach, who had an extensive hockey pedigree.
“Initially I was in Bantam [Girls] and my coach Courtney Birchard who played on Team Canada told me I should go to boys like her goalie on Team Canada,” explains Gorman.”She said that playing with boys I would face harder shots and that it would prepare me better.”
Despite having offers to play in the collegiate ranks both in Canada with U Sports (formerly CIS) and south of the border with the NCAA, Gorman is focused on pursuing her academics.
“I chose to go more the academic pathway. I’ve had offers from both NCAA and U Sports and turned them down. If I were to go into NCAA and U Sports, I would’ve had to switch back to [playing with] girls either this year or last year because I’m in grade 12.”
Hockey has certainly helped the young netminder hone her time management skills as she balances academics and an extensive hockey schedule.
“It makes you do your work in advance and have everything done so you can go play hockey, it gives you good time management,” said Gorman. “I want to go into either medicine or dentistry. I’ve applied to a bunch of schools around Ontario and I’m just waiting to see where I get in.”
As far as hectic schedules go, last year, Gorman balanced two high-pressure sets of games, playing with her high school team at the OFSAA provincial championships being held in Stratford, and in the GTHL playoffs simultaneously.
“I was in playoffs and it was our last round and we ended up winning, but I had to go back and forth every day from the tournament,” said Gorman. “I would get back around midnight and we didn’t have early games, so that was fine. We ended up winning the provincial championship, so that was awesome.”
Playing two different styles of hockey, Gorman has since adjusted to the game and the level of her competition in the GTHL.
“Obviously, the shot quality is there, boys shoot way harder, the speed of the shot is faster. I find girls don’t shoot as much, they wait so they don’t get a fast release. The boys shoot a lot more so it’s way faster.”
As for playing in her last year of competitive hockey, Gorman is playing for the same reasons she did when she was younger just starting off – to have fun.
“I would like to win, I just want to have fun. I think a lot of people in my division know school is the most important, so we’re just out there to get exercise, be competitive, have fun.”
The Midget A All-Star Game is scheduled for Saturday, January 14 at 10:30 a.m.