Former Storm player movin’ up
Head coach says Sterling Nesbitt’s ‘commitment is second to none’
|By Jennifer Hughey - Contributing Writer | April 27, 2017|
Sterling Nesbitt is like any other 13-year-old girl.
Her dress is picked out for Grade 8 graduation and she has a summer of baseball and beach days planned out. The difference is, those activities will be slated around Sterling’s summer hockey schedule.
“It’s obvious,” Sterling said, when asked why hockey?
And it is.
The Nesbitts are a veteran hockey family in Minden Hills, spending hours of time at the S.G. Nesbitt Memorial Arena and other county rinks. They built an ice rink in their front yard this winter and one of the first things you see is a hockey net as you pull into their driveway.
“Sterling is now a defenseman for the Oshawa Lady Generals Bantam AA team,” her mother Cindy proudly told The Highlander. There was even discussion of signing her before tryouts.
Sterling was also offered a spot on the Peterborough Ice Kats Bantam A team playing forward, but she declined for a spot on the Lady Generals.
With tryouts, the Oshawa Globemaster Girls Summer Select Tournament team, preparing for Ontario Women’s Hockey Association (OWHA) U-16 high performance preliminary identification camp in Ottawa and the OWHA/Hockey Canada skills day in Napanee – it’s safe to say hockey is Sterling’s life.
“I think back to when Sterl first put skates on,” Cindy said, “I had no idea that her passion, dedication and love of the game would have led her to where she is now.”
With two kids immersed in the sport, Cindy and husband Wyatt are seasoned pros at mentally tallying all the in-car and ice.
But it’s worth it for Wyatt. As a hockey dad, he’s excited to see where Sterling’s career is headed.
“There’s nothing more rewarding than to watch a young athlete prosper at the sport they love,” Wyatt said. “Any parent will vouch for that.”
Sterling has come a long way since first lacing up at three years old.
Her parents often reminisce about her playing Highland Storm Timbit hockey at age five, working her way up to joining the Tykes in 2011. She was one of only two girls on the team at the time.
“Sterling was with the Storm until 2014, when she was then asked to play for the Bancroft Jets Peewee Girls C team,” Cindy said, adding it was the second time when Rich Smith had coached Sterling.
“It’s pretty much game on when the puck drops,” Smith said. “Sterling is a very strong hockey player and she has a shot that’s beyond her years.”
The 2015/16 season was quite successful for Sterling. The team went 18-0-4 for the season, with three gold medal wins at large city tournaments. She was made captain the following year.
During the 2016/17 season, she played for the Lindsay Lynx Bantam C team as assistant captain and an alternative player for both the Bantam B and Midget B girls.
Her daily routine now looks very different from other teenagers.
“She works out with Lorie Kah twice a week,” Cindy said, adding she travels to Oshawa Saturday mornings for skills practice with Globemasters coach, Tyler Gubler, and still manages to fit in other extra-curricular activities twice a week.
“It’s just that athletic drive,” Cindy said of Sterling’s dedication.
Gubler, who is also coach of the Lady Generals, agrees that drive is one of Sterling’s strengths. It’s part of the reason he and assistant coach Blake Cook pre-selected her to attend tryouts.
“I want to give her a shot,” Gubler said. “She needs someone to give her that chance to prove what she can do.”
He added Sterling has a great shot and showed she knew how to use her size to her advantage.
Sterling’s goal is to acquire a hockey scholarship for her future education and said her dream is to play on the Canadian Women’s Hockey team.
“This is a huge opportunity for me to contribute to another team at a much higher level,” Sterling said. “A chance to have my skills seen by other coaches and staff members from the Ontario Women’s Hockey Association.”
Gubler agreed and feels confident in her ability to attract attention in the years to come.
“Her level of dedication is second to none,” he said. “It’s a big commitment from her and her parents.”
Cindy said opportunities that have presented themselves to Sterling because of this dedication, make her so proud.
“As a parent, I am so heart-bursting proud of her and I can’t wait to see where her hockey journey travels,” Cindy said.
“She is the kind of kid you love to coach,” Smith said. “She sets standards high for herself and for her teammates. She just really loves the game.”
JENNIFER HUGHEY is a contributing writer for The Highlander