The lone bright spot in a tough season

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Photo by Luke Sarazin

 

It has been another tough season for the Laurier Golden Hawks women’s hockey team this year.

Following last year’s 3-21 season, the team has only become younger. With young teams, struggles are to be expected as they grow together and learn to win.

Having started out the season 0-5, there would come a change in net for the Hawks. Enter, Hannah Miller.

For Hannah, it only took one game in net at a young age for her to fall in love with it. From there on, she has stuck with it, even playing with older girls at certain points of her career.

“I skipped my second bantam year and went to midget a year early. So, I was in grade nine and I was playing against grade 12s and I think skipping my bantam year really helped me stay patient and calm in this league,” she said.

Her competitive spirit on the other hand, in addition to her abilities, is the thing that has allowed Laurier to be more competitive than people would assume considering their 2-13 record.

It doesn’t take much to see the kind of confidence and level of maturity she possesses for an 18-year-old first-year player.

Normally, first years may not expect to play much. Newer players often take time to adjust and get to the point where coaches feel they are ready to be thrown into the fire.

Miller is quite different.

There is a higher level of understanding that she possesses of how big of a role she plays and the level to which she is needed.

Seeing herself as the tone-setter of the team, “in a quiet way,” she feels like she has to have a high level of confidence in herself.

“I’m the last one in the net on the back of the ice, so everyone’s looking at me,” Miller said. “If I have a bad game everyone’s going to see it, compared to a player.

Miller likes to extend this confidence to her teammates on a consistent basis.

“If my team sees I’m confident, they’re going to be like ‘hey Miller’s confident in the net, I’m going to be confident because she’s confident.’ So, as long as I’m confident, I know my players can be confident on the ice and we can produce to the best of our abilities.”

Her competitive spirit on the other hand, in addition to her abilities, is the thing that has allowed Laurier to be more competitive than people would assume considering their 2-13 record.

It’s also evident in her expectations coming into this season.

“Coming into the season, I wanted to be the starter. I expect to be the starter. I knew I’d compete hard for it. I want to try my best to get rookie of the year. Then from there, I know it’s going to be hard to make playoffs this year but even next year, taking those personal achievements into next year, just trying to get something going with my team,” she said.

Being third in the OUA in save percentage and sixth in goals-against average as a first year could have some on a high but she considers her season’s performance to be “alright,” so far. Her biggest emphasis is on her team’s performance and ability to try to pull out wins so they could compete.

“I feel very good about [my personal stats]. I know that my hard work in practice has been paying off to get those results in games but still I’d rather take a win and be last personally in the country and have the team first,” she stated.

On a team with no fourth or fifth years and coach Rick Osborne retiring at the end of the season, there seems to be quite the foundation in place  especially with a cornerstone like Hannah Miller  for the team to build upon in the future.

At the very least, the Golden Hawks have definitely managed to find a diamond in a rough season.

Leave a Reply