Rainsberry settles into new role

Hair tied back in a ponytail and bag slouched over her shoulder, Abby Rainsberry wanders into the 24-Hour Lounge.

On a busy Monday afternoon in late November, the third year co-captain of Laurier’s crown-jewelled varsity program of women’s hockey shakes hands, sits down, beams and greets the inquisitive journalist sitting opposite.

On a moment’s notice, in the midst of essay season, the face of Laurier’s storied hockey franchise has agreed to meet The Cord for a glimpse into the life of one of WLU’s foremost female athletic leaders.

But that’s just who she is.

“I saw I had two missed calls,” said Rainsberry of the unidentified number. “I figured I’d better call back.”

It begins and ends with communication for the ice warrior. She’ll make time for anyone.

Ladies’ hockey head coach Rick Osborne sewed the “C” onto the chest of Rainsberry’s jersey, thanks in no small part to her ability to vocalize, articulate and correspond.

“We have a good relationship, me and Rick,” said Rainsberry. “I think I’m someone he can rely on.”

Not always present in a dressing room full of changing female athletes, Osborne values Rainsberry’s input and perspective on maintaining a healthy pulse on the team’s chemistry and spirits.

“He only sees so much, right?” smiled the captain. “He’s got a room full of 23 girls, but I think he’s learned a lot from us.”

“I feel I’m on a good person-to-person basis with everyone. We all get along well.”

Rainsberry first laced up the skates in her humble home pastures of Petrolia, with a modest population of around 7,000.

“It’s a hockey town,” explained Rainsberry. “Everyone knows everyone. It’s a friendly town.”

And like so many others recruited before her, Laurier’s friendly and intimate atmosphere captivated Rainsberry.

“It kind of resembles home,” said the captain. “Anywhere I go on campus, I run into someone I know, which is the same feel as Petrolia.”

The kinesiology major didn’t have to look far to get sound advice and support whenever she needed it.

“My dad coached me a lot when I was younger, right up until Bantam or so,” recalled the forward. “My dad (and grandpa) pushed me a lot, gave me constructive criticism.”

The captaincy is a role she relishes.

“We’re all new to the leadership team, it’s been interesting,” said Rainsberry, citing the team’s majority of players being in first and second year.

“I try and help the rookies with what I found difficult in my first year, so it’s kind of information overload, learning our systems (the first months), but they’re catching on really well,” she said.

But mastery and dominance isn’t pulled out of a hat.

“It’s not easy,” said a grinning Rainsberry. “It probably looks like we just float in and win titles for the past however many years … but it takes work; we attend workouts twice a week and we have practice, plus a lot of girls do extra training.”

“It’s an honour to play for Laurier and represent the school,” she continued. “The fans are so supportive each game, even in Brantford at the other campus.”

But time flies when you’re winning championships left and right.

“I don’t want it to end — you’re so in the moment, you don’t really see it ending,” she said. “Each year goes by faster and faster … I love it here.”

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