An interview with Cougars hockey player: Ireland South

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Ireland South in action! Arthur Images

Let’s find out what it’s like to be a hockey player

Some University of Regina sports are slowly coming to an end, which means that some of our teams’ seasons are ending or entering playoffs. The Carillon decided to do an interview with Ireland South from the Cougars women’s hockey team. She’s going to tell us how the Cougars season went, and recap the sport of hockey itself.

First off, let’s get to know South.

How long have you been playing on the Cougars, and what is your position? Can you explain the importance of your position?

I am currently playing forward. Technically this is my fifth year, but because of COVID-19, I can play one more year after this. Forward is an important position that generates offense, and our goal is try and get the puck out and on net.

What are you currently studying at the University of Regina, and how do you balance being on a sports team and completing your studies?

I am currently studying education, and it is a lot of work. I mostly stay organized by using a planner with practices, games, meetings, and due dates. You have to be very good with time management and self-control to get it all done before the weekend coming.

 How long have you been playing hockey?

I have been playing since I was six years old, and started out as a figure skater.

Can you talk about the transition between hockey and figure skating?

My mom was a figure skating and gave me the basics of skating and continued to coach me, so all my skating skills come from her. My parents wanted to put me in a team sport, so once I started to play hockey I learned how to work with a team, grow as a person, and as an athlete. Hockey has stuck with me, and I have not put on a pair of figure skates since then.

What other leagues and teams have you played with in the past?

I played in the Milford hockey league for a long time, Milford only has men’s teams so I played on that team for my second year of Peewee. Then I joined Prince Albert to play for the Triple A northern Bears team. Then I got signed by the Cougars.

Can you go in depth about how it felt and what it was like to play on a men’s team?

It was always different. Because I was the only girl I had to get geared up in public bathrooms. Although there were some benefits because I was the only girl, I felt like I had something to prove myself which has given me the determination to keep going.

If there is one penalty you are bad for getting, which one is it and how are you trying to improve so that it doesn’t happen as often?

I am not one to take penalties. I actually went this whole season without taking penalties. Although, thinking back to when I was learning how to play, we weren’t allowed to hit until Peewee, which meant I did not know all the rules of hitting. I started out a full lay out on a boy who did not have the puck and got a penalty for it without knowing why. So now I know why (writer’s note to future players: you can only hit others when they have the puck).

What is one main takeaway from your season?

To work hard. You are not always guaranteed tomorrow. So always show up to the rink and understand what a blessing it is to be there and play such a hard level sport. I am very grateful for getting to play and travel western Canada, and this is a wonderful blessing to take away.

What was the highlight of your season this year?

Of course, there are lots of fun times, although one main point that sticks with me is the start to our season this year and we were on our way to Edmonton where we had two buses break down and the team decided to have fun and play soccer in the parking lot, which this created a fun memory.

Now, let’s hear about the Cougars and how their overall season went this year. 

How did the season go this year?

Start of the year was not our best start. We needed a play off spot after Christmas as we did not have one at the moment. So, after Christmas we came back hard, kicked it into play off mode and made some changes. Which helped us make play offs and got it down. We made play offs and we played U of A and sadly lost there. Although, this helped teach the team we have the determination and hard work to make a turn around.

What does a typical schedule look like, being on the women’s hockey team?

A typical week looks like Monday-Thursday we practice in the afternoons with workouts in the morning on Mondays and Wednesday. Then usually leave the highway Thursday evening and get to the next place and play on Friday, Saturday. Head on back Saturday night and some players have “Cougars club” on Sunday or you have a bit of time to recoup.

Do you have advice for anyone who wants to play for the Cougars hockey team in the future?

Work hard, do your best. You do not need to the best player on the ice. Just put in the effort and work to show you are happy and determined to be here, and show that you have appreciation for the game and opportunity.

What do you hope to see for the Cougars season next year?

I think we are going to have a good season. I happy and proud, always, of my time. I have decided to come back next year and play, so I am looking forward (to) us training together and always working hard together.

That’s all South has for us, and man, were they some great answers! The Carillon can’t wait to see what they have in store for the next season, coming up in 2022-2023.

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