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Burnaby minor hockey alumna looks to land spot on B.C.'s U18 women's team

Former Burnaby Bulldog and Wildcat Clara Juca is coming off back-to-back provincial titles with the Fraser Valley Rush, as well as consecutive national silver medals.
Clara Juca (goaltender on left), who grew up playing with Burnaby Minor Hockey Association, was part of a Fraser Valley Rush team that won back-to-back B.C. provincial titles, regional banners and Esso Cup silver medals.

Clara Juca's last two seasons have been very memorable: two B.C. championships, two regional titles, Canada Winter Games gold and a pair of national silver medals.

Now, the Burnaby Minor Hockey Association alumna could be heading north in November to represent B.C. once more at one of the biggest women's hockey tournaments in Canada.

Juca is one of three goaltenders among 26 athletes selected to BC Hockey's female program of excellence (POE) prep camp this month, which will determine the province's roster for the 2023 national women's under-18 championship.

The event pins the Canadian provinces and territories against each other for national supremacy.

This will also be the first tournament since the COVID-19 pandemic, which cancelled the last three championships.

Juca is already familiar with wearing B.C.'s blue and white on her jersey, winning the province's first-ever Canada Winter Games gold on Prince Edward Island in March.

The New Westminster-born goalie stood between the pipes for the Fraser Valley Rush under-18 female AAA squad the last two years, splitting each season with fellow netminder Rebecca Noble.

The two could be suit up together once more as Noble was also invited to the prep camps, set to take place in Delta and Langley Sept. 21 to 24.

Juca played 26 games over two years with the Rush, tallying a combined record of 25-1 that included eight shutouts.

She started in six games over the last two Esso Cup national championships with a 3.31 goals-against average and a .889 save percentage.

In the 2021-22 campaign, she was named to BC Hockey's female under-18 AAA all-star team

Prior to moving up the ranks, Juca grew up playing for the Burnaby minor hockey teams. She was named top bantam-level goaltender as a member of the Wildcats at the 2019 Pat Quinn Classic.

The now 17-year-old is committed to the Etobicoke Jr. Dolphins of the Ontario Women's Hockey Association this fall, but will soon head back to B.C. for the camps.

Juca will learn if she's heading to the under-18 championships shortly after the three-day excellence stint of practices and evaluation exercises, both on and off the ice.

The 26 women in attendance will also get to play three exhibition games — one against Trinity Western University and two against the Valley West Giant under-17 AAA boys team.

The 2023 national women's under-18 championship is slated for Nov. 5 to 11 in Dawson Creek.