Although Avery Bautista might have clashed with her older sister when they were living together, she is playing her heart out on the ice every week to get a chance to spend more time with her.
The hockey-obsessed 13-year-old just spent the season helping the Prince George Bantam Cougar Female team take first place in the Okanagan Mainline Amateur Hockey Association.
She also plays as an affiliated player for the Bantam Boys rep team in Quesnel.
“I play every day except for Monday,” she says.
“It’s kind of exhausting because I don’t get enough sleep sometimes, and I know my mom hasn’t got any sleep either, because she works as well.”
It can be a lot to handle for the young athlete.
To make 6 a.m. practices in Prince George, Avery and her mom, Debbie Toussaint Bautista, have to wake up at 3:20 a.m. and get on the road by four.
For all of us complaining about our 20-minute commute to work, this might put a few things into perspective.
The taste of victory can all be worth it, however.
“We had a 25-game win streak going,” Avery says. “We lost it last week against some Midget players from Fort St. John, but we still have the streak for our age group, so that’s good.”
While the talented skater enjoys the game itself, she keeps coming back to the sisterhood between her fellow teammates.
“Sometimes we have our bumps and bruises, but we always get back to how it was,” she says. “We’re a family, and we know that we always have each other’s back.”
She scored nine goals and helped on 10 more in 12 league games this season.
Avery also doesn’t take any guff, wracking up four times the penalty minutes of the second highest offender on her squad.
Her sister, Destiny, lives full-time in Prince George, where she plays for the Prince George Elite Cougars.
Avery hopes that the two, who played together last year, will get a chance to grace the ice together sometime soon.
“We share this goal that we have had every since we were little,” she says.
“That goal is to get a scholarship in what we love, which is hockey.
“Since I didn’t see her a lot this year, one of my other goals is to get back to her to try and play with her again.
“Last year, it was exhausting to see her every day but now that I don’t see her, I miss her.”