January means a new year, a new semester and new challenges at Stanstead College. After a tournament in Exeter, New Hampshire the weekend before the start of school, we returned to class feeling more than a little rusty. We didn’t have long to adjust though, because after just half a day of classes we packed up the bus again and took off for Buffalo, NY. That is pretty much the routine as a hockey player at Stanstead. Right now we’re about half way through our season, which consists of our league games in the North American Prep Hockey Association (NAPHA), many tournaments and exhibition games. In total we play about sixty games from November to early March. Most of our games are away, so we miss a lot of school. One of the biggest challenges is keeping up with school work. The teachers are very understanding, but they expect you to stay on par with the rest if the class.
All that travel means a lot of time on the bus. One of the girls got the first two seasons of the TV show The OC for Christmas, so we watch that on road trips. It’s amazing how fast 10 hours goes when you’re all watching a great show. Even Hutch (our coach, Megan Hutchinson) was into it. Between practices, games and travel, you’re teammates become like family from the start of the season. Little things like The OC really cement that, though we’ve had a few fights about which character is the best. As I said, we’re like sisters. This carries on through the good times and the bad, and if one player is going through a tough time for any reason, we’re all there for her.
Even if we rarely follow it, being away so much, Stanstead College follows a fairly regular routine. All students choose a sport, which in the winter can mean hockey, squash, basketball and cross-country skiing. There is practice every day except Thursday, which is club day, and sometimes Sundays if you don’t have a game. Wednesdays are special because we only have class in the morning, leaving the whole afternoon to sports. Some teams travel to games on Wednesdays, others have longer practices than normal.
There are three hockey teams at Stanstead; varsity boys, junior varsity boys and girls. We divide ice time on the brand-new Pat Burns Arena, usually about an hour and a half each. Most days we also have training in the gym to work on strength and agility. After sports and supper, we all have two hours of study in our rooms, followed by free time until lights out. After such a long day of classes and hockey, we’re ready to crash by the time the prefects come around to say good night and turn off our lights.