‘The sky is the limit’: Teen girl hockey goalie thrives playing with the boys

When Céleste Pelletier helped her team win city and provincial championships last hockey season, it left her wanting more.

“I thought a new challenge would be to go play boys and see how good I could do,” Céleste said.

So last fall, the 14-year-old goalie tried out for Bruins AAA teams, but didn’t make it.

“Initially, Céleste was disappointed to hear that she was cut by the Bruins because that was her focus for the entire summer,” her dad Real Pelletier said.

However, she was immediately picked up by the AAA U15 Thrashers White.

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“We just pick the best players regardless of the name of the back,” head coach Vince Hourie said. “We wanted to build a team we thought could compete.”

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Hourie believes his diverse team overachieved this year, making it to the first round of playoffs.

The Thrashers had a roster full of first year players, which also included a key weapon no other team in the league had, a female goalie.

“Whenever I go on the ice, I know I have a good chance of being really good at stopping a lot of pucks,” Céleste said.

Céleste has played hockey for nine years and this season, she really had to adapt her game as the shots came faster and harder.

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“The guys are always just trying to score, so that was fun,” Céleste said. “The competition is crazy because you got these huge guys who are six foot whatever and they’re shooting pucks at you.”

Céleste’s stats speak for themselves, a 90 save percentage and a shutout against one of the teams that cut her.

“She made lots of great saves,” her teammate Prabh Bhathal said. “She was a really good teammate, helpful off and on the ice.”

“We just see her as one of the guys,” other Thrashers teammate Ed Saly added. “She’s always been one of the guys towards us.”

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Off the ice, Céleste also plays volleyball for the Junior Bisons Volleyball Club and wrestles when she can.

“She’s a good person and very just driven in everything she does,” Real said. “She’s very passionate about sports.”

Next season, she plans to go back to female hockey, playing for the Balmoral Blazers. Her other future goals include playing hockey in university, studying business and making the Canadian national team.

“I’ve already been approached by several D1 schools about her. They know she has intentions of going to Balmoral Hall next year. I think she can play university hockey. The sky’s the limit. She can probably play as high as she wants to play,” Hourie said.

No matter where Céleste ends up, she never lets criticism or doubters get in her way.

“They said this to the coaches, they go, you’re crazy for picking a girl born in ’09 for a goalie, and then it turns out, we ended up higher than them,” Pelletier said.

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