She’s 15, born and still being raised in Leaside, but for the first 11 days of this month she will be playing hookey from Leaside High School to play hockey in New Zealand for its national under 18 team against the Australia Women’s U18 team.
The aim: To play with New Zealand in the world championships.
Gabby Smyth has New Zealand citizenship because her father, Andrew, was born there.
As a result she went to New Zealand to try out for the team earlier this year with her dad, a board member of the Toronto Leaside Girls Hockey Association, which has worked with the Ontario and international associations to develop opportunities in non-traditional hockey markets.
He is now also involved with women’s hockey in New Zealand.
Gabby has been involved too, not just in hockey.
“I have been very active in all sports since I was very young,” she says, “participating on virtually every school team in elementary and middle school (she want to Northlea) and am now on several teams at Leaside High.”
She plays defence for the Leaside Wildcats Midget AA team and has competed in Leaside soccer and girls softball for years. She’s also volunteered as a hockey coach and trainer and is in her first year as a referee.
She’ll be travelling alone this time, “but am very excited as I see this as a huge adventure with great benefits down the road”.
By our deadline she had raised by herself close to the $3,500 the trip will cost.
“I am going to create a twitter/facebook account and I will be posting while I am away so people can follow what is happening,” she says.