Playing with the PWHL is 'surreal' for St. Thomas hockey star Lexie Adzija
CBC's Travis Dolynny spoke with Ottawa forward Lexie Adzija
Training camps are underway for the new Professional Women's Hockey League players as teams gear up for their first games in January.
Six teams from across Canada and the U.S will compete for the winning cup. For many of the 150 players from around the world, it's a dream come true.
CBC's Travis Dolynny spoke with Lexie Adzija on Afternoon Drive to hear how life on the ice.
The following has been edited for length and clarity.
Travis Dolynny: How does it feel to be living your dream and playing professional hockey?
Lexie Adzija: It's still pretty surreal. I don't think it even hit me at all until I actually got to Ottawa, got fitness testing going and got on the ice for the first practice. A year ago I didn't think it would be possible to get paid to play the sport I love. So, just really surreal, but so grateful to have this opportunity.
TD: How long have you been playing hockey?
LA: I've been playing hockey since I was four years old. I'm 23 now, so pretty much my whole life. It's really all I've known and all I've done for as long as I can remember.
TD: That's amazing. What has the energy been like at the practices so far?
LA: There's so much high energy and excitement. I think everybody's in a similar boat to me where we're just also grateful and excited to be here — and feeling so, so lucky to be here that the energy is so high. Everyone's happy. We're just super pumped to get things going and finally be at camp. To finally actually be here and get started, that is just awesome.
TD: It's a first-of-its-kind Professional Women's Hockey League. What does it mean to you to be part of it?
LA: It's super special. It's the top 150 players in the world. And for me, I always love a highly-competitive environment. You have the top women hockey players in the world finally in one league. I worked really hard to get this opportunity. I'm just super grateful to have it and to be a role model for young girls, and give them something to dream about. I think that is the most special thing for me.
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TD: What advice would you have to give young girls chasing their hockey dreams?
LA: First, to recognize that they do have a pro-league they can dream of playing in, and you can truly do anything you set your mind to. If this is something you want to achieve, work at it every day, and the only person that's going to get in your way is yourself.
TD: What are some of the challenges that you were up against in securing your spot in the professional league?
LA: I had a little bit of a different journey than some other girls. I missed pretty much just over half of my senior season of college last year due to injury. It was a little bit nerve-racking going into the draft. I was just unsure if I was going to get dropped or not because I missed so much time. I was fortunate enough to get a Hockey Canada invite and attend their camp in September, so I think that maybe helped me a little bit. My journey was different, but obviously just a lot of hard work and a lot of crossing my fingers that a team would pick me up. And here I am. Now I'm just working to make my mark here.