Styles drafted to CWHL

File photo by Will Huang

File photo by Will Huang

On Tuesday August 19, Candice Styles took a giant leap in her hockey career.

The three-time Ontario University Sport champion and first team OUA all-star was selected in the fourth round — 17th overall — in the Canadian Women’s Hockey League draft by the defending champion Toronto Furies.

“It was a nerve-racking moment, but when it happened it was a moment of excitement that it turned out to be Toronto,” she said. “I’m really honoured just to go to that high level of a team.”

Styles has been one of Wilfrid Laurier University’s top athletes for the last five years; last year, she received the President’s Award following an OUA championship season. The award is reserved for

Laurier’s top female athlete across all sports. Despite her credentials, she was humbled by the entire draft experience.  “Words can’t really explain a lot of the things that are going through my mind,” she said. “After having a great career at Laurier, hopefully I can just carry that on. It’s a big challenge, but I’m ready for it.”

She now gets to take her talents to Toronto and play with her idol and Olympic gold medalist Tessa Bonhomme.

Styles’ ability to provide a steadiness on the blue line combined with her offensive power attracted the attention of Toronto and boosted her to the fourth round.

“It was a bit of a surprise to go that high, especially with the amount of talent that was in this draft. That’s a great bunch of girls and so to be as high as fourth round, that’s an honour,” she said.

Styles attributed her success and growth to her time at Laurier under head coach Rick Osborne and his coaching staff.

“Laurier helped me grow into who I am today. It made me a stronger player and a stronger person on and off the ice. My coaching staff pushed me to the next level and without them I would not have accomplished any of this.”

Styles wants to be a part of the expansion of women’s hockey as a whole.

She now accepts her position as a role model in the sport and had some pieces of advice for anyone trying to attain the level of success she has achieved.

“Never give up. Push yourself. Every time you step on that ice it’s a new challenge and you should have a new goal to be better,” she said.

“Your career will have its ups and downs. I had my ups and downs and I never gave up.”

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