Sierra Semmel has had a year most young hockey players can only dream about.
The 13-year-old from Dedham learned a few weeks ago that she has been invited to the girls hockey Under-14 National Development Camp in Rochester, N.Y.
Semmel was the leading scorer for the Central Maine Youth Hockey Association’s 14-Under team that earned the bronze medal in the national championships in East Lansing, Mich. earlier this month.
Eric Semmel, Sierra’s father, explained that she earned her invitation to the national camp through her play at the New England Festival in Manchester, N.H. on March 26-28.
She is the only Maine player to earn a berth to the Under-14 National Development Camp although Kara Violette and Katherine Pate from the Lewiston area, earned invites to the Under-15 camp and North Yarmouth Academy’s Molly Strabley was invited to the Under-16 camp.
Semmel will go to a regional camp on July 10-14 in Manchester, N.H. to prepare her for the National Development Camp.
“I’m really excited,” said Semmel, who had 44 goals and 23 assists in 44 games encompassing the regular season as well as regional and national tournaments.
“They will all be really good players [at the camp] so it will be good competition again,” added Semmel, a seventh grader at the Dedham School.
She said she was a “little surprised” to be chosen although she thought she played well at the New England Festival.
“In the first game, I was a little rusty and I had to adjust to the speed. But after that, I thought I played better than I usually do,” she said. “You really have to step it up to play at this level.”
That is what she is hoping to do this summer and she is preparing for it by playing on a U-14 Maine All-Star team with six of her CMYHA teammates and several other quality players from all parts of the state.
The team practices or plays a game every Sunday at different rinks across the state and will play in the Quebec Challenge Cup on May 22-24 and the Vermont Stars Tournament in Stowe, Vt. on June 18-20.
Her father acts as the general manager of the team and it is coached by siblings Tucker, Caitlyn and Lincoln Jordan.
“This gives players the opportunity to play with the best players in the state and raise the level of their games,” said Eric Semmel.
“You get a chance to play with girls you don’t normally play with. It’s a lot of fun,” said Sierra Semmel.
The players she is familiar with are former CMYHA teammates Mikayla McLaughlin of Glenburn, Skowhegan’s Sarah Finnemore and Anne-Marie Provencal, Norrridgewock’s Makaela Michonski, Winthrop’s Annie Guerette and Waterville’s Jena Nawfel.
In addition, Hampden’s Rachel Kocik, who played for the Penobscot Valley Hockey Conference boys bantam team this past winter, is also on the team.