Behind the Hawk: Andrea Ironside

There’s a reason head coach Rick Osborne decided to give Andrea Ironside the captain’s “C” this past year to lead the Golden Hawks’ women’s hockey team.

Ironside’s mix of passion, motivation and leadership are all on constant display on and off the ice. This is evident in the Hawks’ astounding 17-0 record so far this season.

The fifth-year kinesiology major got her start in hockey in her hometown of Collingwood at the tender age of six.

“I played boys’ minor hockey and it was just watching my two brothers play when I was growing up that made me want to play,” recalled Ironside.

Since then, the Ironside boys have hung up their skates, but the talented right-winger continues to be a source of inspiration to her teammates at Laurier.

Ironside’s colourful and humorous personality can frequently be seen at the rink, even if the sunshine can’t.

“Practice at Laurier is at 6:30 in the morning and if it’s not, then it’s at 11:00 at night,” she said.

Shortage of practice facilities and ice times may be a challenging factor for the Golden Hawks, but it hasn’t stopped them in the past, as they have won six straight provincial championships.

“They’re all different,” Ironside said of her four straight first-place finishes.“Every year it’s a new adventure, a new journey. It never gets old. That’s what you play for, you play to win.”

Throughout her years at Laurier, Ironside has garnered four championships, three Laurier athlete of the week honours, three Ontario University Athletics (OUA) All-Star nominations, two Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) championship tournament All-Star nods and one CIS Second Team All Canadian.

Ironside is quick to note that many people in her life have had a significant role in her success.

“I’ve had quite a few influences in my life. My family has always been very supportive and I’ve had great coaches along the way, Rick [Osborne] being one of them. He’s been a great mentor, a great coach and an even greater friend.”

Ironside’s decision to come to Laurier seemed simple enough. “[I came because of] Jim Rayburn,” laughed Ironside. “He’s a really good scout and I couldn’t say no to that face.”

The team has come to know the captain’s lighter side, as she is always keeping the dressing room in good spirits during critical games.

“I knew I was coming into a great program, they were coming off a national championship and it was something I wanted to be a part of,” said Ironside.

So, what is the captain doing when not she’s lacing them up?

“Reading,” groaned Ironside, echoing the band of burdened student athletes.

Ironside said success in the women’s game comes from speed and special teams; both are areas that she continually works on throughout the season.

The captain is proud of her team, but like all great leaders, her desire to win never subsides.

“Winning four is an accomplishment,” said Ironside. “But we’re looking for five.”

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