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.”

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