The team feels ready after pre-season games
A symbol of pride and source of inspiration for the community, the Cougars women’s hockey team at the University of Regina are known for their storied history and commitment to excellence. “Our athletes are working hard, and we are in a good spot,” said Sarah Hodges, women’s hockey Head Coach.
Having started out well in their pre-season games, Cougars won with 2-1 against the University of Saskatchewan’s team, and then lost to them with 1-3 in the following game. Continuing to work hard, they couldn’t quite make it past the University of Manitoba with a final score of 1-3 for Manitoba. The team has set the tone for the game; “Those games were good opportunities to see where new players are at.”
With new players starting off in the team, those games were important to understand the style of play. Hodges mentioned that with hockey being slightly physical, it was essential to work on those aspects through the gameplay with different teams. “It was a really physical game that was difficult, but it was a good learning experience for the team because our Canada West games are typically physical like that, and we need to get used to them.” Hodges emphasized the style of play and getting comfortable with the physicality of the game as keys to achieving success.
With three new players and 21 returning, Cougars’ hockey seemed to get started on setting the stage for success with their strategy and teamplay. “All of our players are recruited. Last year we struggled to win and we had a very young team and really good, positive team environment. The athletes enjoyed that,” said Hodges. As the fall semester kicks off, the Cougars look forward to getting through the difficulties and minor losses paving the way to win with the returning team.
“We’ve really tried to increase the level of competition that we have brought on a daily basis just cause it’s not something you can switch on and off. […] They battle against each other. We also have fun, […] they play because they love it,” said Hodges.
As they try to find the enjoyment side, competing at such levels could be stressful. With this commitment to hard work, adaptability, and the love for the game, the Cougars women’s hockey team seems to be positioned to make waves in the upcoming league next week. “Things are going to change next week when we do get into the regular season because it just gets harder.”
The gameplay changes as the league gets rolling. As some players play more while others play less, making their position and proving themselves in these pre-season games is essential. Hodges helps to keep up the morale of the team by recalling to them why they started playing and how much they love it. It was discussed how managing schoolwork on top of playing the sport can be such a grind, yet the girls are doing a great job, and the university is there to provide the support they need. “Push through the hard days because the reward’s really great at the end of it.”
The team under the coaching of Sarah Hodges is geared towards passion and love for the sport. As they leave an unforgettable mark on the world of ice hockey, the Cougars women’s hockey team reminds us of the journey worth undertaking in the pursuit of excellence.