In the aftermath of a 2013-14 season that saw the Carleton Ravens welcome 11 freshmen, Ainslee Kent is ready to take on a bigger role with the program. One of the veteran forwards for the new-look squad, Kent confidently and proudly sees herself as a leader,
“I have a lot more confidence and I try to help new players out. I talk to them on the bench and I expect to be a leader on every shift.”
Since joining the Ravens program in the autumn of 2011, Kent has been one of the most consistent performers. A 5’5” spitfire who played for the Peterborough Ice Cats before advancing to CIS play, her favorite player growing up was Joe Sakic.
Known affectionately as Aims, she led all Ravens in goals scored for the 2013-14 campaign, while ranking second to Sadie Wegner in points, respectively.
One of the key lessons learned in her career came in February 2013 when the Ravens suffered a visceral home playoff loss to the McGill Martlets. After a 1-0 lead for over two periods of play, the Martlets battled back and ended the series with a come from behind win. While the wounds have healed from that difficult moment, Kent is able to reflect on it with a strong maturity that certainly comprises strong leadership.
“You learn to never give up and not take anything for granted. We proved to ourselves that we can play one of the top teams in Canada. You have to be confident and believe in ourselves. The loss was definitely a heartbreaker.”
Acknowledging her speed and her shot as the strengths in her game, Kent has enjoyed some memorable moments in her Ravens career. One of those moments included the opportunity to compete in an exhibition contest against the German national team in 2013.
Adding to the excitement of the contest was the fact that former Ravens teammate (and captain) Sara Seiler was competing for the German contingent. As Germany was competing in the 2013 IIHF Women’s Worlds (being held in Ottawa), it was a special event for all involved,
“It was really fun to play against our old captain Sara Seiler. It is super cool to see her on the ice. To play an international team is not something that everyone can say they did. It was exciting to be a part of it.”
With Seiler still involved with the Ravens as a fitness coach, she is still a member of the team. For Kent, the thrill of knowing that Seiler competed at the 2014 Sochi Winter Games was a strong point of pride,
“I was so excited and so proud of her. I was excited to watch her on TV. Although we were rooting for Canada obviously, we were definitely pulling for Germany.”
With so many new faces at the forward position, including Emma Dahlgren, Olivia Keefe, Rebecca Klimo and Julie Vaillancourt, Kent felt that the team gelled together really well. “It was not too much of a problem. We have good chemistry and everyone gets along well. Despite the curve time, everyone has learned very well. There is support on the team, which helps.”
That support can come in many different ways. One such way resulted in a funny story that Kent reflected on. At the beginning of the 2013-14 season, the team received a last-minute notification after a practice about taking their team photographs right away.
“We take our photos very seriously (smiles). We wanted to make sure there was not one strand out of place. Usually, photos are taken before practice. We found out it would be after practice, and we freaked out (laughs).”
As the players were in line for their team photographs, the result was a queue in which one player employed a curling iron and brush for the player waiting ahead of her, while the player behind her would style her hair. Getting the players’ hair prepared for photos became the true essence of teamwork and a humorous highlight.
That strong sense of support is certainly one of the cornerstones for a Ravens looking to return to the postseason in 2015. For Kent, the strong sense of friendship is definitely one of the best parts of playing at Carleton.
“It is such a supportive group of girls. I look forward to getting to the rink. It is like 25 friends.”
“All quotes obtained first hand unless otherwise indicated”