Emily Gervais and Chanelle Petrie have survived three grueling rounds of tryouts for B.C.'s under-18 women's hockey team.
If they thought the first three stages were tough, there are four more to get through.
Gervais and Petrie, both 16-year-old Kamloops girls, are about as close to making the provincial U18 team as possible - they are among the 23 players to have made the cut after the weekend's provincial camp in Salmon Arm. The team will be trimmed to 20 before the national championship, which runs Nov. 7-11 in Dawson Creek.
If that seems a long way off, well, the 23 survivors have already been through a lot to get this far.
The first stage of tryouts was the zone-camp stage - there were five camps, in different zones, in late March and early April.
The top 20 players from each of those camps were invited to compete at the female U18 B.C. Cup, which ran April 25-29 in Invermere. Gervais and Petrie each had two points in the tournament, and were asked to come back for the five-day provincial camp last weekend.
The camp, featuring 51 players divided onto three teams, was the toughest of the first three stages.
"Oh, for sure," says Gervais, who attends Penticton's Okanagan Hockey Academy. "You're doing full practices and playing games. . . . We were there five days in total, and had four practices and played four games.
"I was ready for a good sleep when it was over."
That was only half of the challenge - every move the girls made was scrutinized by B.C. Hockey's scouting staff, which determined who would make the cut.
"It's go-go-go, and there's always people watching you," Petrie says. "It was a little nerve-wracking because every little thing you do is being so closely watched."
Apparently, every little thing Gervais and Petrie did in Salmon Arm was good enough for them to move into the final stages of the qualifying process, which has nearly as many stages as the Tour de France.
The next stage, which is back in Salmon Arm, is the Team B.C. Summer camp, from July 25-29. According to Hockey B.C.'s website, players will "work on team concepts, training and prepare for the national competition."
Petrie says the team also will play some exhibition games against a Kazakhstan national team - Hockey B.C. didn't reply to an email seeking information on the games.
Once the camp is finished, Team B.C. will hold a preparation tournament in September - dates and location to be determined - where the team will be pared from 23 to 20. Of the three players to get released, one will be a goaltender, one will be a defenceman and the other will be a forward.
Stage 6 is the national championship preparation camp in November, which will lead into Stage 7, nationals in Dawson Creek.
That's a lot of stages and a lot of work, but both Kamloops girls are only focused on the next task at hand, the summer camp.
"I think it's going to be really tough," Gervais said. "I'll be doing lots of training to get ready. . . . I'm (in Penticton) until I'm done exams, I think on June 23, then I'll be trying to get as much ice time as possible."
Petrie is unsure how - and when - she will resume training.
She is recovering from a concussion she suffered after being checked from behind in a game at camp on Sunday. She played two more periods, but ended up going to hospital.
Petrie says she is starting to feel better, and is hoping to ride a stationary bike today. The sooner, the better; there's a lot of work to be done.
"They send you a program you have to follow," Petrie says. "You also have to send in a videotape of you stickhandling, and you have to do a bunch of tricks. There are guidelines - there are different categories, and each category has to be the length of a song."
Petrie, who calls herself a "fair" stick-handler, played for the Maverick Motor Inn Mystixs midget Tier 1 team last season. Amazingly, it was her first season of rep hockey - although she had played seven previous seasons, she had always played in KMHA's recreational divisions.
"It was by choice," she explains. "I just wanted to play hockey."
But Petrie wanted more, so decided to try out for the Mystixs, and fit right in.
"It was definitely a big jump," she says. "House hockey, and I don't want to come across as rude, the level isn't as high as rep. I had no idea (rep) would be this high quality."
Gervais, on the other hand, is a veteran of rep hockey, and decided to take the next step in her career by moving to OHA this season.
She played for the Thompson-Okanagan Rockets in 2010-11, and tried out for the B.C. U18 team in 2011, not making it past the provincial camp stage.
It was at one of those camps last spring that the seed was planted for Gervais's move to Penticton, and it has worked out well. Even leaving home in Grade 11 wasn't that tough.
"It was a actually a lot better than you would expect," she says. "You sort of expect to miss your friends and family, but everyone's been so supportive."