International Ice Hockey Federation

Della Rovere returns stronger

Della Rovere returns stronger

Forward trying to earn spot on women’s U18 team

Published 24.11.2016 17:32 GMT+1 | Author Chris Jurewicz
Della Rovere returns stronger
Kristin Della Rovere is looking to earn a spot on Canada's U18 team. Photo: Thomas Higgins / Hockey Canada Images
They say they’re part of the game. But that doesn’t make it any easier to take when a hockey player sustains an injury.

Kristin Della Rovere knows that all too well. The 5-foot-8, 150-pound forward – who has been skating in Calgary this week for Canada’s National Women’s Under-18 Team summer showcase – has suffered a few setbacks in her hockey career.

Last season, she separated a shoulder and suffered a concussion on the ice. A few years back, it was a knee injury (torn meniscus) that set her back. But Della Rovere thinks each of her comebacks – the early disappointment, then the rehab, and finally the return to game action – have made her a stronger player.

“It takes a lot of work,” says Della Rovere, who won’t turn 18 until late November and is the second-youngest player at Canada’s camp. “Everybody likes to play the game and sitting out isn’t always the best part. It’s not fun but you have to work to get back into it. You just have to take it a step at a time so you can come back stronger than you were before.

“I’m feeling great now. Everyone here is so encouraging. Everybody has so much energy and the whole experience is amazing. It’s been an honour. It comes with a little nerves here and there but I feel prepared. I’m ready.”

Della Rovere has gained strength from a number of people. That includes her second cousin, Stefan Della Rovere, who has also had a fantastic hockey career. Stefan, who is currently under contract to HC Valpellice of the Italian Serie A league, helped Canada win gold at the 2009 IIHF World Junior Championship in Ottawa. Stefan also played for Canada’s silver-medal winning team at the 2010 World Juniors in Saskatoon.

Stefan had a successful OHL career with the Barrie Colts and was taken in the seventh round of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft by Washington. He seemed on track for an NHL career when he was sidelined with a torn meniscus – the same injury Kristin suffered.

“My older cousin Stefan was my idol because he was very successful ... he got a chance to play in the world juniors and he played in the OHL and AHL,” says Kristin. “I got to train with him here and there and he was a big influence on me, a real big inspiration.”

“Seeing his last name on the Canadian jersey, representing the country, and hearing stories from him ... he had surgeries that he had to overcome also and he’s still doing very well. I want to follow his path and represent my name and my country. He has been a role model for me.”

Kristin is one of 43 players (six goaltenders, 12 defencemen and 25 forwards) who are trying to impress Hockey Canada brass enough this week to earn a spot on the National Women’s U18 Team that will face the United States in a three-game series from Aug. 18-21.

Kristin, a forward, says her game has been compared to that of Jennifer Botterill’s, one of Canada’s most well-known alumni, in that the two players take pride in their ability to set up plays and feed the puck to linemates.

“I’m a playmaker and a goal scorer,” says Kristin. “If I have an opportunity, then I’ll take it; I’ll use it and I’ll drive to the net and try to get a few goals. But I find that I usually like to set up my linemates a lot.”

Canada’s camp runs through Aug. 13, at which time Hockey Canada will announce its roster for the three games versus the United States. Those games will be played in Calgary on Aug. 18, 19 and 21. Following the series, players will return to their respective towns and cities for the start of their club team seasons. All of this leads to the 2017 IIHF World Women’s Under-18 Championship, which takes place in Czech Republic.


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