Annie Berg keeping Beamsville on the hockey map, as did NHLer dad, Bill
By Mike Williscraft
Annie Berg has no problem giving credit where credit is due.
“It’s been a dream on the ice because of the parents I have off the ice,” says Berg of her silver medal run as a forward on Canada’s U-18 women’s national team in St. Catharines earlier this month.
Berg was at Monday night’s Lincoln town council meeting to accept a commendation for her exploits.
In making the presentation, Mayor Sandra Easton said, “These kinds of things don’t happen every day. We’re very proud of all you have achieved, Annie.”
Berg accepted a certificate and a bouquet of flowers from the mayor, while she presented Easton with a signed national team jersey which will be displayed at town hall.
With the world championship, image of pulling on the national team jersey for the first time and ringing in her ears from the “crazy” crowd at the Meridian Centre still fresh in her mind, the 17-year-old Beamsville native made a big life decision this week.
“I’m going to Brock this fall taking concurrent education. I want to be a teacher,” said Berg, after the council presentation.
And why not?
It is completely apropos since the parents she spoke of off the top are a teacher, mom Wendy, and a former National Hockey Leaguer, dad Bill.
Bill, who had a 11-year NHL career including a run with the Maple Leafs in the early 90s, has been the provider of sage advice as Annie’s hockey road has progressed.
“It is great to be able to sit with my dad and dissect the game afterward. I beat myself up more than he ever would,” said Annie of looking for ways to improve her game.
“My mom is the fun. She lightens the mood and she’s great to go shopping with at the tournaments,” Annie smiled, noting she is a better shopper than hockey player… as her parent’s credit cards will attest.
While competing for Team Canada was a dream for her, it was purely magical for her parents.
“I am so proud of how she stuck to it. She had a really hard time when she didn’t get picked from the camp in Calgary to go to the Lake Placid. It was really emotional to see her out there in St. Catharines,” said Bill.
She has come a long way since she quit dance partway through what would become her first year in hockey.
“The season was half over and she was too old for tyke, but they let her play that level since she had never played before,” said Bill, who noted it was the end of her first full season that her talent became apparent.
For Annie, the main takeaways from the Worlds were two things: the atmosphere in the arena and keen attention youngsters had in following the team.
“When you’re used to playing in front of 50 people and you go out and there is 3,000 people for warm up, it is insane. It was a great step forward for women’s hockey,” said Annie, noting she would slow things down and appreciate them more if she gets the opportunity to play for Team Canada again.
“The other thing was the kids, who would be right there with their face pressed up against the glass, boys and girls all hyped up. It was great to see them so excited.”
For Wendy, she is pleased her daughter is really enjoying what she is doing.
“She works very hard, so I am glad she is having fun with it, too,” said Wendy.
As well, Wendy gets to enjoy watching games from a different perspective.
“I went to see Bill at a lot of games, but now I get to sit with him,” she said, pointing out he supplies his own play by play while in the stands.
“He talks constantly and I like to hear his perspective.”
Like mother, like daughter.