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Pickering Helps Win Gold for Canada

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Avery Pickering of St. Adolphe has won a gold medal at the IIHF World U18 Women’s Hockey Championship in Sweden.

St. Adolphe’s own Avery Pickering has won the gold medal as a member of Team Canada at the IIHF World U18 Women’s Hockey Championship in Ostersund, Sweden.

Canada went through the tournament undefeated, winning all five games they played. In Sunday’s gold medal game, Canada defeated Sweden by a wide 10–0 margin. It was Canada’s second straight gold medal at the Women’s U18 Worlds and also its third in four years.

“It’s really been amazing the entire experience,” says Pickering. “Obviously playing for Team Canada has been a dream for as long as I can remember. So getting the opportunity to experience this is incredible. Being in Sweden, too, that’s a pretty cool part of the experience because I’d never been outside of North America before. Getting to be here and seeing European culture and the scenery has been really incredible.”

Pickering grew up in a hockey family in St. Adolphe, as her two brothers and parents all play the game. Her older brother, Owen Pickering, was a 2022 first-round draft pick of the NHL’s Pittsburgh Penguins.

“I got into hockey just through my family,” she says. “Both of my parents played and still play in a St. Adolphe Sunday night league. My older brother got really interested when he was young, so I basically watched everyone in my family play growing up. I can’t even remember the first time I played or skated because I was so young.”

Pickering’s parents did their best to make sure the kids had as much exposure to hockey as possible, even going as far as to build an outdoor rink every winter for their children to play on.

“I think it was just something that was so easy to love, working on the game and putting in the time. My dad built an outdoor rink in our backyard every year and has added improvements every year, with things like nets to make sure we don’t hit any houses. Just little things to try and make it easier and better for us to work on our skills.”

The 16-year-old Pickering has been attending high school at Balmoral Hall in Winnipeg, a school known for its hockey program and training future college athletes.

Although she’s only in Grade Eleven, Pickering has been a star defenceman for the Balmoral Hall Blazers ever since she joined the school in 2020.

“I really love our coaches at Balmoral Hall,” says Pickering. “It’s been a great experience as a whole because it feels like a family. I love going to school and playing hockey with those girls every day.”

Pickering has also already committed to attend Colgate University, a top NCAA women’s hockey program, after she graduates from Balmoral Hall in 2024.

It was in mid-December when Pickering found out that she had been selected to play for Team Canada at the 2023 IIHF World U18 Women’s Hockey Championship.

“I was in a car ride home with my mom from a workout,” she recalls. “I knew the time of day that I would be getting the call to find out either way if I made the team or not. So I got the call, and it was incredible sharing it with my mom as both of us were smiling, crying, and laughing. I really wasn’t expecting to make the team, so it was just an amazing feeling.”

Pickering scored one assist in five games and was a +8 for the tournament. Her one assist was an important one, however, as it came in the gold medal game.

“I’ve been working towards this for so long. And I’m so thankful to have been given this experience and opportunity. I’ve dreamed of being here and being up against the top girls for this age group in the entire world, so I’m glad I was able to soak everything up and enjoy this experience.”

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