Sports besties waiting out COVID-19

SIX NATIONS — It’s hard to find a coach who wouldn’t like a whole team of players like 14-year-old Kolbee Vanevery and 13-year-old Trinity MacDonald, both from Six Nations and both are elite multi-sport players as well as best of friends. But they act more like sisters than most sisters.

Although COVID-19 has robbed them and so many other kids and teens from a year of development as young athletes, both are very active, just waiting for sports to open up and they can get back to the games they excel at.

As far as hockey goes, Steve Raitt, head coach of the Ancaster Avalanche U-15 AA hockey team, can’t wait to get back on the ice with his team of elite girls which includes Trinity and Kolbee, his two of young defense specialists.

Both are first year players at this level and Raitt couldn’t be more pleased to have them both.

“They are both on the “D” and they are both spectacular,” he says of his one-two-punch on the back line. “They are both dedicated, easily coached players who give it all, every shift.”

Until the COVID-19 restrictions are lifted, he can only practice with a limited number of players on the ice at any one time, but he has seen enough to be impressed.

“It’s hard for some of these young players when the season is canceled until further notice,” he says. “Unfortunately, some of them may slip through the cracks when it comes to development.” He says that is especially true at the elite level.

The girls are first year players and are his two youngest, however, he made spots for them based on what he has seen on the ice and on the positive attitude they both bring.

“It’s funny but when boys get to the 15-16 years old they begin to find other attractions and many leave the game,” says longtime minor hockey coach Raitt, “but the opposite is true for girls of the same age.”

At 13 and 14, when they restrictions are lifted, they will have a few years to make the best of elite level of coaching and play that they have both adhered to so well.

The girls have played with their uncle Dennis MacDonald’s boys peewee reps last season and with what he has seen at limited practice times. Remember, they were a year younger last season and not only held their own, but made a difference on the ice.

Kolbee and Trinity are also year-round athletes, having earned the same reputation in fastball as they have in hockey.

Kolbee is a catcher and utility player while Trinity is a pitcher so they get a lot of practice time in between the practices and games and as a result, they are both polishing their skills almost every day in the driveway.

The PWSA is an under-16 rep team but, once again, they are playing fastball up a level at an elite league with the Milton Bats, coached by Damon Smith.

“I think Kolbee is our fastest baserunner,” according to coach Smith. “I’ve never signed anyone so young before but I made a good choice.”

Both coaches, Smith and Raitt can’t say enough about his young athletes and the positive vibe they both carry at practice as well as in competition.

Hopefully, the COVID-19 year we have been going through will subside and athletes as well as fans can get back to the rinks, the ballparks and sports fields.

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