Kiana Melvin was hoping for such a chance, but her eyes weren’t on just any ordinary summer camp. After being invited to attend the USA National Hockey Development Camp last summer, the Lewiston native was focused on a repeat visit.

“I was hoping,” said Melvin, who will be starting her sophomore year at Hebron Academy. “I had my fingers crossed the whole time I was waiting. I knew I had a really good chance of going because of my weekend at (a New England showcase). I felt like I did really good.”

Melvin was chosen for the second year in a row and was one of only three Maine girls to attend the camps in St. Cloud, Minn.. The others, Grace Dexter and Aimely Michaud-Nolan, were chosen for the U14 team.

“I was very excited,” Melvin said. “I thought it was an amazing goal that I had achieved. There were amazing players that I had to tryout with. So I didn’t really know what might happen.”

Melvin, a defenseman, initially was chosen from among the top talent in Maine to be part of the New England regional team. While competing in a weekend tournament in Rhode Island, players were selected to be part of the USA Hockey’s National Development Camp in late July.

“Making it last year was a great accomplishment, but to get it two years in a row was an even greater accomplishment,” Melvin said.

Melvin found a slightly different atmosphere at this year’s camp compared to last year. The players were put through fitness testing and the competition was a little more intense, because players were hoping to make the U18 team.

Melvin’s team prevailed in all four of its games and won the tournament.

“I felt that I did pretty good,” said Melvin. “There is always a need for improvement. I can always improve on everything, but I felt that I played smart and had a good week.”

Having been at the camp last year made a significant difference this time around.

“I felt a lot more comfortable this year,” she said. “It was a lot easier for me to adapt, because I had the experience from last year. I was really nervous because I was really shy. This year I was comfortable and I socialized more and got to know everyone better.”

Melvin met some great friends and even hobnobbed with two Olympians, Julie Chu and Jessie Vetter. She also saw a great improvement in her own game.

“There was a huge difference,” Melvin said. “Last year I kind of sat back a little bit. I didn’t show everything I had. This year I just let it all out there on the ice. I let myself go and played the best I could.”

With her confidence building and comfort growing as a player, Melvin is excited about the lessons learned and how it will apply to her upcoming season at Hebron.

“I feel like I can bring everything I learned to my team and share what I learned with them,” Melvin said. “I feel like I can contribute a lot more than I did my freshman year. I was the only freshman on the my team. So I didn’t feel like I could speak out as much. This year I feel like I can give it my all.”

She brings back a workout regimen she was given in Minnesota. She also has fueled her passion for the game. She’s aiming towards a spot on a U18 team in the future as well as playing at the Division I level in college.

“I’m so excited,” she said. “I’m not sure what’s going to happen in the future, but I’m just trying to give everything I have to make sure I have a future in hockey.”

[email protected]

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.