It will be lit by an Olympic-fuelled flame, travel 45,000 kilometres across Canada and pass through the hands of an Edmonton hockey mom on its way.

Shelley Brennan is no stranger to thankless jobs, like practice before the crack of dawn, tying skates and mending owies.

Now, the first chosen Edmonton torchbearer will hang up her coaches’ whistle, becoming part of a centuries-old tradition — carrying the Olympic torch.

“It really unites our country,” said Meaghan Mikkelson, member of the Canadian National Women’s hockey team, after welcoming Brennan to the all-important role yesterday.

The torch will begin its journey on Oct. 30 and will end in Vancouver for the 2010 Olympic Winter Games. It will pass through 14,000 hands in 1,000 communities over 106 days.

Brennan was chosen, RBC spokesman Craig Ware said, because she represents “ordinary Canadians making a difference in their communities.”

The chosen torchbearers to follow in Brennan’s footsteps will be cut from the same cloth, he said, adding RBC is taking nominations for iconic community pillars to carry the flame.

“She knows that supporting kids can dramatically change who they become,” he said. “She’s incredibly inspiring.”

The modest mother of three says she’s floored that “average people” are being chosen to run with the torch, and she’s honoured to be trusted with the responsibility.

“I’ve always been such a big fan of the Olympics, it’s something I’ve always admired,” she said.

The torch will enter the province through the Northwest Territories and travel 3,400 kilometres over eight days in Alberta, making a stop at the Alberta legislature along the way. To nominate a torchbearer, visit rbc.com/carrythetorch.

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