Hannah Charlesworth and Anna Mollenhauer have been friends since they can remember.
Their parents knew each other before the 14-year-olds were born and they have lived on the same block for 11 years.
The two play hockey on the same team and will represent Vancouver Island U16 at the upcoming B.C. Winter Games in Mission.
“We both went to tryouts last year … and we didn’t make it,” Charlesworth said. “We went back this year and we both made the team.”
Charlesworth and Mollenhauer were two of the 20 that made the cut after 60 players tried out in Nanaimo.
“I was really determined this second time,” Mollenhauer said. “I was excited that I made it and really excited that we both made it.”
Both girls grew up with hockey. Charlesworth used to watch her mother play when she was young and her grandmother bought her mini sticks to encourage her. As she got older, she attended parents and tot hockey at Oak Bay ice rink with her dad and when she was seven, she joined a team.
“I really hated it,” Charlesworth said. “I started bawling my eyes out. I thought I would be the best one there, but everyone there had already played for a year or two.”
Charlesworth was encouraged to go a second time and has loved the sport ever since. She has also played field hockey, at Mollenhauer’s urging, but she prefers being on the ice.
“Ice hockey is a lot faster and you have more chances to get the puck than the ball in field hockey, where you don’t touch the ball as much,” Charlesworth said. “I like the speed of (ice hockey) more.
“I also like playing the boys. It’s fun to beat them.”
Mollenhauer’s interest also stems from her parents. Her dad grew up in Ontario playing on frozen ponds, and her mother is a field hockey Olympian. She tried ice hockey because of Charlesworth’s influence. However, it wasn’t the actual sport that caught her initial interest.
“When I was younger, I liked wearing all the gear,” Mollenhauer said. “In most sports you’re not able to do that.”
The girls will be under pressure on two fronts at the Games in Mission from Feb. 20 to 23. They are determined to see their team win plus how well they play determines what happens next year.
“I’m a bit nervous because there will be scouts watching the whole time,” Charlesworth said. “For the U18 team, you have to be invited to play.”
Besides hockey, Charlesworth participates in cross-country, track, plays basketball and soccer at Oak Bay High. The Grade 9 student isn’t sure how far she will pursue hockey but is leaning towards becoming a chiropractor or physiotherapist,when she graduates.
Mollenhauer is still deciding her post-secondary plans, but the Grade 9 St. Michaels student must soon choose one sport.
“I would like to play sports in university or college and I have to choose one (sport) if I go for a scholarship,” Mollenhauer said. “I’m not sure which one to choose.”