HOCKEY HEROES
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What first drew you to play hockey?

“I have four older brothers that always played hockey growing up. My family would always be traveling to a rink somewhere to watch one of their games. When it was finally my brother, Spencer’s turn to start hockey (he’s 2 years older than me), I decided that was it and it was time for me to start as well. My parents signed Spencer up and when they said I wasn’t old enough to play I complained just the right amount for them to finally allow me to play. At that point, I wanted to be just like my brothers and play the game that they all clearly loved.”

What is it that you love about the sport?

“I love the feeling of being in a close game. Tie or one-goal games are my absolute favourite. There’s something about knowing every move you make could have an impact on the final score, and knowing your teammates are relying on you just as much as you are relying on them is such a strong motivator to play your best and leave everything you have on the ice.”

Which PEI Hockey League(s) were you a part of growing up?

“Growing up in minor hockey I switched back and forth between AA and AAA teams (Morell Mustangs and Kings County Kings) every year, always playing with boys because it was rare for there to be all girls’ teams back then. I did this until I reached my first year midget, when I went away to a school in Ontario and played in a North American Prep Hockey Association League and the Ontario Federation of School Athletic Association League.”

What notable teams have you played on?

“I’ve had the opportunity to play for Hockey PEI at the Atlantic Challenge Cup from 2005 to 2011. I played for Team Atlantic at Nationals in 2009 and 2010 before playing at the Canada Games for Team PEI in 2011. Most recently I played five years of university hockey with the Mount Allison Mounties in the Atlantic University Sports League.”

Are there any awards or championships that you have won in your career that you are particularly proud of?

“An award I am particularly proud of, but did not win was when I was nominated as my university’s representative for the James Bayer Memorial Scholarship. This scholarship was for recognition for outstanding student-athlete in Atlantic University Sport for excellence in academics, athletics, leadership, sportsmanship and citizenship. Even being considered for that award among the group of athletes from other universities was such an honour.”

WHAT WAS ONE OF YOUR PROUDEST MOMENTS FROM YOUR HOCKEY CAREER?

“The proudest moment in my hockey career came in my rookie season with Mount Allison. It was the semi-final game and we were playhing Moncton. A team that we had not beaten all season and were definitely the favourites to move on into the finals. The game started terribly for us and at the end of teh second period, we were down by three goals. The fianl period came and our assistant captain, Ketelyn Morton was unstoppable. She scored three out of the four goals we put in the back of the net that one period and our team ended up winning the game and moving on. I have never been so proud to be on a team in my life. Looking back, I feel so fortunate to have had teh opportunity to experience that type of emotional roller coaster with my teammates. We didnèt end up winning that championship, but winning that semi-final game, in that moment, felt like we had just won the Stanley Cup.”

In what way are you still involved in hockey? What are your “hockey plans” for the future?

“I graduated from university, so I’m done playing competitive hockey, but I’m definitely not willing to give the sport up. I’ll be playing rec hockey here on the island somewhere for the next few years. I do hope to one day, in the near future, volunteer coach with one of the teams I used to play on. I think it would be fun to be on the other side of the bench and discover what the game is like from that angle and to hopefully teach some girls to love the sport as much as I have growing up.”

What is your favourite hockey team?

“My favourite team to watch would be Team Canada during the Olympics every four years – I would drop pretty much anything to watch one of their games. During the regular season, however, I cheer for the Calgary Flames. I’m hoping to catch one of their games in person soon!”

Who have been your biggest “Hockey Heroes”?

“I’d have to say my mom has been my hockey hero. Despite her never playing hockey, she loved the sport. At one point she had all five of her kids in minor hockey, was the president of the Morell minor hockey club and worked a full time job. All of that and she would always be at the rink cheering my brothers and me on. It didn’t matter if the game was in Morell or across the country in British Columbia, you knew she would be in the stands cheering you on and of course ready to suggest ways you could improve for the next game.”

What is one of your favourite hockey memories?

“It’s really hard to narrow in on one memory that stands out as being my favourite; there have been so many. I would say apart from the AUS semi-final game I mentioned earlier, my favourite memories come from the Atlantic Challenge Cup with Team PEI. Every year I was so excited for Thanksgiving weekend when we would make the drive over to the fourplex in Moncton and would spend the weekend playing with and against the friends you had made over the years. I enjoyed every part of that weekend, whether it was the games against the other provinces, the team bonding sessions you would have during your downtime, or just the time you would spend with your teammates at the hotel. Every memory from those weekends make me smile when looking back.”

Who are some inspiring female hockey players today (or from the past) that you feel young girls can look up to and who have inspired you?

“Some of the girls I looked up to when I was younger were girls who had gone through the same programs in the years prior. Players like Mary McKinnon and Stacy Flood were always ones I enjoyed watching and hearing about. As I got older, players I had played with became the people who inspired me. Jill Saunier and Kayla Blackmore’s work ethic on and off the ice always amazed me when I had the opportunity to see them at the rink. What stood out even more for me with them was not just their amazing hockey abilities, but that they were even better people off the ice. I really looked up to them, despite being so close in age.”

Why do you think it is important for girls to play hockey?

“I think it’s important that girls have the opportunity to be a part of a team sport like hockey. This sport, in particular, has taught me so much throughout my years playing. For example, to never give up in a tough situation, to always respect an opponent and a teammate, and that your teammates will be the people you form the closest friendships with growing up.”

What advice do you have for girls playing, or thinking about playing hockey?

“If your thinking about playing hockey, I would just suggest to do it and don’t look back. The friends I’ve made through hockey and the places I’ve been able to travel to have given me so many amazing memories. To girls who are playing hockey, always work hard no matter what the situation is. I will never forget the time I was cut from the Novice A team in Morell and I went home crying, saying to my mom that I didn’t know it was a tryout, so I was just out having fun. Mom then told me that it being a tryout or not shouldn’t have had an impact on how I was playing on the ice. Her words that day stuck with me and continued to impact my play throughout my hockey career. So always work hard, but don’t forget it’s a game and you are there to have fun as well!”

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