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An Ottawa win lights up the path ahead, in more ways than one

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I’m not used to writing in the first person.

Normally, I’d omit a sentence like that. Uninteresting observations don’t tend to make it in a final draft, despite how true they might be. 

But for this story, it’s relevant. On Saturday after PWHL Ottawa’s game against Toronto, Carla MacLeod, the team’s head coach, gave me quite the story. 

Mar. 23, 2024 will go down as a statement victory for both Ottawa and myself. In one night, the team snapped Toronto’s 11-game win streak and had one of their players, Daryl Watts, net a hat trick for the first time this season. It’s also the first time the team’s won two consecutive games.

After the win, MacLeod answered the media’s questions for exactly four minutes and 10 seconds, but she spoke for about five minutes total. For the last minute or so, she chose to share some of the limelight. 

MacLeod let the entire press know it was my last day covering this team and thanked me for my time. “This poor guy’s had to talk to me more than most of y’all,” she joked, smiling. 

As a journalist, I’m supposed to be good with my words. I’m still speechless when it comes to describing how this moment felt.

On Saturday at 6:00 a.m. I’ll be in my seat on a plane heading to Yellowknife. I’m working at a newspaper there and will be leaving my home in Ottawa for the first time. 

“Best of luck in the North-West Territories,” MacLeod told me, adding not to be a stranger. 

“We’re on the YouTube, you’ve got to watch us.” 

I accepted the job a couple months ago and have been preparing for the move since, as well as covering Ottawa since game one.

I can honestly say I’ve grown quite a bit as both a reporter and person between now and then. “As the season goes on, every team is morphing and growing and shaping themselves,” said MacLeod on Saturday. It’s a quote that certainly applies well to this aspiring journalist too.

As far as final games go, Saturday’s is tough to beat. There is a pulse in TD Place. In large part, it’s thanks to their fans. With more than 8,400 of them in attendance, they all clapped in one synchronous beat to the tune of another Ottawa win at the end of the game. 

If anyone should know how charged the city feels, it’s Watts.

“When we score, it just feels electric. I know a lot of people use that word lately, but it really feels electric. Every time we score, I get chills in my body. It’s crazy.”

Saturday’s attendance set another new season-high for Ottawa. It’s only their ninth game at home. For now, they sit at fourth in the league, with a difference of about five points between either neighboring team in the standings.

Ottawa and the rest of the league are in hibernation until late April. I’m sure by then I’ll have my internet set up to stream a game or two. 

Best of luck Ottawa. And thank you again coach. 

Featured Image ©️ Professional Women’s Hockey League (PWHL)

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In this article: #ProfessionalWomensHockey, #ProHockey, #WomenInSport, #Womenshockey, Carla MacLeod, coaching, Daryl Watts, grow the game, Hat Trick, Hockey, PWHL, PWHL Ottawa
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