This 12 months has been a little bit of a whirlwind for Victoria Khou due to COVID-19, however it’s additionally been a memorable one.
That’s as a result of the longtime Logan resident has earned the chance to play with a few of the finest hockey gamers on the earth in her age group. The 15-year-old was accepted into the Hockey Coaching Institute (HTI) Stars program in Ontario, Canada, for the 2020-21 tutorial 12 months.
Khou left for Barrie, Ontario, the day earlier than Thanksgiving and, after a compulsory two-week quarantine by herself, joined her teammates — most of whom are from Europe or Canada. That is the second straight 12 months Zhou has frolicked attending faculty and enjoying hockey in Canada. As a ninth-grader, she attended Athol Murray School of Notre Dame, a boarding faculty in Saskatchewan.
“It means so much as a result of they play exhibition video games towards D-I groups, so it is a actually good solution to get on the radar (of those groups), and so they have lots of commits to Yale and different D-I groups,” Khou stated. “And so it means a lot and this chance is superb.”
Khou is the one participant from Utah on the roster of her HTI staff. That is nothing new for the sophomore, who has been breaking floor in her sport for a number of years now.
For starters, Khou was the first-ever feminine participant to compete for the West Coast Renegades, a prestigious membership staff primarily based out of West Valley Metropolis. Khou performed on a U14 staff a few years in the past.
“Victoria was actually a participant who attracted consideration at our tryouts. She by no means shies away from the bodily a part of the sport and is all the time seeking to play the physique,” the membership stated in a launch in October of 2018. “Coach Metcalf stated after watching Victoria play, it was evident she may skate with the boys. She by no means backed down and all the time performed with a tenacious effort.”
One 12 months later, Khou was the one feminine participant from the Beehive State to get invited to the famend STX 68 camp, which was held in Illinois in August of 2019.
“The STX 68 is by invitation solely, so the truth that you have got been invited means that you’re regarded among the many finest feminine gamers within the nation on the 2005 beginning 12 months,” the group wrote in a letter to Zhou in Could of 2019.
Khou has spent intensive time competing with and towards boys, together with a portion of the 2020 season for the Sky Canyon Predators whereas she was ready for her worldwide pupil visa to come back by. Sky Canyon, which is comprised of gamers from Sky View and Inexperienced Canyon, capped off an undefeated season final winter with a membership state championship.
“It’s helped me with the exercises and simply studying learn how to be a greater teammate as a result of lots of my teammates are actually good, so I’ve discovered off of them,” Khou stated when requested about how enjoying with the boys helped her enhance as an athlete. “… Our (Sky Canyon) captains are actually good.”
Certainly, Khou has performed all the pieces in her energy to become the participant she is in the present day. A variety of that credit score goes to her father, Jay Obmerga, who was an completed youth participant in his personal proper. Obmerga went on to play membership hockey at Utah State.
“I’d not be pretty much as good as I’m in the present day with out him,” Khou stated. “He principally made me the participant I’m proper now. He’s performed so much for me.”
Actually, Obmerga was instrumental in Zhou receiving the possibility to play in Canada.
“My dad used to play with the (HTI Stars) coach after they had been youngsters, after which they simply sort of began speaking a few years in the past, and I began going to their prospects camps,” Zhou stated. “After which we began speaking this 12 months as a result of that is the 12 months I can commit to varsity groups.”
Enjoying Division I hockey is certainly one of Zhou’s major objectives. The native of Illinois additionally aspires to play for the U.S. Olympic staff and in the end win a gold medal on the Olympics.
It’s that sort of aggressive nature that has allowed Zhou to excel within the sport she loves.
“I simply love skating and I like scoring,” stated Zhou, who first began enjoying when she was 8 years previous. “I like successful too. It’s simply all the pieces concerning the sport, I simply like it. Once I’m indignant, it helps me de-stress. It’s an aggressive sport, , and that helps (de-stress).”
Serving to her staff win is one thing the defenseman takes an excessive amount of satisfaction in.
“I’d say my skating’s fairly good and I simply get to work and I work actually laborious, I really feel like, as a result of I simply need to win so unhealthy,” Zhou stated.
What are a few of the issues Zhou feels she must shore as much as take the subsequent step as a participant?
“I believe I ought to enhance on not stressing, not being so harassed with our video games as a result of I do know there will likely be faculties watching,” she stated. “After which additionally my shot must be quicker.”
Zhou obtained emails from some D-I applications when she was 13, however then the NCAA handed a rule stipulating groups can’t discuss to potential recruits till finish of their sophomore 12 months. That point has practically arrived for Zhou, who’s honored to signify the Beehive State and Cache Valley throughout her time in Canada.
“I’m tremendous excited and simply able to get to work once I get there,” she stated.