A hockey player from Waterloo, Ont., is inspiring a younger generation to take their game to the next level.
Caitlin Kraemer, 16, helped Team Canada win gold at the women's world under-18 hockey championship Sunday in Östersund, Sweden. In Sunday's game, Kraemer scored a hat trick in a span of 6:44 in the first period, which was the fastest in tournament history. Canada won 10-0 over Sweden to claim its second consecutive gold medal at the tournament.
"She is just a overall hard worker and a great player and it's pretty cool how someone who like, grew up here and played for the Ravens is now representing Team Canada," Aislinn Roberts, who currently plays girls minor hockey for the Waterloo Ravens, told CBC News on Sunday before a game in Waterloo.
Mary Bell said she was really excited to watch Kraemer play on the global stage.
"I think it's so cool to have an opportunity like that, and she's so lucky to be that person, but she truly did deserve it. She never, ever stopped. She always works hard and she never quits," Bell said.
'Well on her way' to Olympic dreams: former coach
Kraemer's success also has some of her old coaches beaming with pride.
David Bell is head coach of the Waterloo Ravens U15 BB team and was assistant coach when Kraemer played for the team just a few years back.
He says he's seen Kraemer play since she was just five years old.
"She's wanted to play at this level for quite some time and I think she has dreams of going to the Olympics and certainly, if she keeps this up, she is well on her way," he said.
Watch | Caitlin Kraemer's hat trick powers Canada over Sweden for U18 gold:
Trainer Pat Boucher last worked with Kraemer when she was just around 12 years old and still remembers when the star player was new to the game.
"I love her to bits and I'm so proud of where she's gotten to," Boucher said. "You could tell that she was just itching to get somewhere else and do something. It just seemed to be her nature."
Kraemer credits team for success
Boucher gushed over Kraemer's recent success.
"She is one of the greatest young ladies I have had the pleasure of knowing. A young lady with gumption and tenacity, always with a smile on her face," Boucher said.
"A great team player and teammate. A very well-rounded individual for the age. Very respectful of her teammates, her coaches, her parents. Just an amazing kid."
After Sunday's game, Kraemer refused to take all the praise for herself.
"This team has been such a big part of my achievements, I could not have done it without them," Kraemer said in a post-game interview, The Canadian Press reported.
"We wanted to leave the world knowing who we are. I am at a loss for words. You dream about this as a little kid, and to win is amazing."