The 2019-20 St. Thomas University Tommies women’s hockey team is going to look a little different than last year’s Atlantic University Sport Championship squad.
No, they didn’t get new jerseys, or helmets, or gear.
There will be 8 new faces in the lineup when they open their season Friday night against the Universite de Moncton Aigles Bleues.
That leaves 12 returning players for your Tommies, all who know what it takes to win at the AUS level. Last year Alex Woods (Courtice, ON) was named a 1st Team AUS All-Star and Emily Oleksuk (Thunder Bay, ON) was a 2nd Team AUS All-Star and the AUS’s Top Defensive Player, and they are part of a core of veterans that the team will turn to in the early part of the season.
“The veterans will be relied upon for leadership, but the rookies will be expected to perform as well,” said reigning AUS Coach of the Year, Peter Murphy. “Once the season starts the rookies are held to the same standard as the veterans. It will be a quick adjustment for them. That being said, we have a great core group back to share their experiences.”
While there may be some big skates to fill from last year’s team, Murphy says he is excited for the opportunity some of his players will get to play a bigger role for this year’s team.
“I feel there are some players who maybe were overshadowed in the past,” said Murphy. “Lauren Legault is one to watch this year, as well as Florence Awde and Brooke Stanford on the back end. I think they are all ready for break out years.”
Legault was a player that came up clutch in several situations for the Tommies last season, scoring 3 game winning goals on the season, as well as being a solid defender. Stanford and Awde are coming off solid rookie campaigns that saw them combine for 3 goals and 6 assists, while both playing big minutes in high leverage situations for the Tommies.
The team will open their home schedule on Saturday, October 6th against cross-campus rivals, the UNB Reds. STU will have a pre-game ceremony unveiling the AUS Banner and presenting the 2019-20 roster, a ceremony Murphy is looking forward to.
“I think this will be a huge event in our team and university history,” said Murphy. “For a university our size to compete at the level we do is something that fills all current and former players with pride.”
While the team may look different this year, the goal remains the same for the Tommies.
“Our goal is to get into a long playoff run, similar to last year. The destination never changes- the path that takes you there, that can be different.”