Kia Castonguay makes a stop as a member of the Boston Shamrocks' U17 team during the 2013-14 season.
Kia Castonguay welcomes hockey coaches to put her game under a microscope.
That is especially true when this happens at a USA Hockey Select Festival camp, where officials from the national governing body of the game begin to make their shortlists for the various national teams down the road.
The Ipswich resident recently returned from the Select U18 camp held in St. Cloud, Minn., from July 9-15.
"This was the second camp that I've been to. It was really important to make it this year [as a 16-year-old], because it gets your name out there so the coaches can choose who will go to the U18 National Team tryouts," said Castonguay, who plays regularly for the Boston Shamrocks junior team in Wilmington. "You have to do really well. You can't just go to U18 tryouts, you have to be invited."
Two years ago, Castonguay went to the U14 Select Camp, at which she took in a whole different atmosphere.
"At 14, the coaches kept telling me to go and have fun there. This year [at the U18 camp], it was so much more important," she said. "Fun was the second thing this year. The main thing was to do well and get noticed."
At the 2014 camp, Castonguay had some of the best numbers of any of the 28 goalies present. In 74 minutes spanning three games, she gave up just one goal for a 0.64 goals against average and a .963 save percentage.
"She did really well. I was surprised she didn't get to play in the camp All-Star game," said Josh Hechter, coach of the Shamrocks' U19 team for which Kia hopes to play in 2015-16 after this coming year with the U17 squad. "She had two shutout halves and did great."
Castonguay said there were practice sessions in addition to the three games she played in.
"We generally had one practice a day. The first day, we had two practices and that was really tiring," said Castonguay. "It was very intense, but it was also a lot of fun to be on the ice for a long time. I think I did really well in the games, also."
She also went to an off-season showcase, where she was further scouted. She has already been receiving e-mails from colleges letting them know they're keeping an eye on her.
"They say they're going to come out and watch me this season," she said.
Not bad for a goalie who first put on the pads when she was 8 years old and surprised her family in a mini-hockey game.
"My cousin and my brother were in Canada and they wanted to play, but didn't think a girl could play with them, so they put me in goal," said Kia. "I did really well, and they were wondering ‘How is she doing this well, having never stepped on the ice before?'"
She was inspired during the late 2000s and early 2010s by former Boston Bruins goalie Tim Thomas.
"When I watched the Bruins, instead of paying attention to the whole team, I just paid attention to Tim Thomas," said Castonguay, of her formative years of learning the craft of playing goalie.
She said she used to play a style similar to Thomas', using her athleticism to move quickly and make very non-technical "flopping" saves.
"Now, I'm more of a technical goalie. I do sometimes dive for the puck, because I don't like to give up on the puck," said Castonguay. "The difference between a great goalie and an elite goalie is that elite goalies never give up. I try to stay as technical as I can as often as I can."
She will start her games of the 2014-15 season with a tournament in California with the Shamrocks' U17 team.
"I love the team and I love the coaching staff. They're all very supportive and they do their best to help you," said Castonguay. "I love how much traveling we do. Our first tournament will be in California, and then we have a bunch of other tournaments in places like Canada and in other places around this country."
"Kia is absolutely spectacular. I can't wait for her to join us [on the U19 team]," added Hechter. "In the meantime, she's in really good hands. And she'll do a good job with [coach Molly Corl's] U17 team. She moves so well and seems to always be in the right place."
She will continue to attend Ipswich High School, where she will be a sophomore this coming year, while playing for the Shamrocks.
"If I was to go to a prep school, it'd be tough to make the commute to Wilmington," said Castonguay. "Also, Ipswich has a good school system, which I hope will help me get to a good college."
She doesn't train with a private goalie coach per se during the summer, but does work with Bob Rotondo, owner of the Shamrocks and the Puckstoppers Goalie School.
What started as a position by default by her brother and cousin has become a position of power for young Kia Castonguay.
Above Story By Joshua Boyd. Reprinted From Ipswich Chronicle. For Original Story See http://ipswich.wickedlocal.com/article/20140724/SPORTS/140728081/2000/NEWS.