For the past three years, when August has come around I have packed up my things and moved into a new house. A house with a different family, rules and expectations. There is a period of time for every hockey player who lives with a billet where everything is new and exciting and a little awkward. You spend time getting to know your new family and learning what to do. Simple things like showering, eating or sleeping are different. However, in my past three years one thing and place that has always felt comfortable for me has been Kitscoty High School.
When everything is changing and new and a little uncomfortable, you need to cling to something that feels normal and safe. That is what Kitscoty has done for me. Similar to my hometown, it is a small town and school. It does not take long for you to learn your classmates' names and which teachers you will be able to go to for help, which is every single teacher at KHS. I was quickly shown respect that I had not received before and it was evident that the people at Kitscoty wanted to get to know me. Amazingly, I felt like I fit in a brand new place.
Heading into my second and now my third year at Kitscoty, the exciting feeling of going back to the school overpowered all the anxious feelings of moving away and starting another new year. The teachers at Kitscoty High School often ask how the games were the weekend before or where we are headed the next Saturday. When it came to missing a few days, we were completely understood and given support as well as good luck wishes. In each of our classes we were given our homework ahead of time and our questions were answered before we left. If our schedule interfered with a project or deadline we were given leeway as we needed. Even in the times when we were struggling in hockey, Kitscoty was there to give us a pick me up.
Whether it was a welcome back or introduction in the Cavalier Conference on the first day of school, or even giving us a mentorship opportunity and asking us to head up the hill to spend some time with the elementary students, the staff and students at Kitscoty High School support and truly care about us hockey players. Their pride is evident as we walk the halls and see how our news articles and pictures fill the door to the gym office and we hear congratulations and comments about our past games.
When I was starting in a new place and moving into a new house or when the season got long and I missed home, I was always able to turn to Kitscoty High School—the building that held my best friend and constant support; a place of respect and comfort. Every hockey player in a similar situation needs to have a place to go or a person to talk to in order to get them through every season and change. As my time in Kitscoty High School begins to come to an end, I know I will forever be proud and thankful to have the Cavaliers in my corner during the fight of the year!