Assembling one of the greatest seasons of any goaltender in U Sports ice hockey, Kendra Woodland reached a revered pinnacle, placing her in a pantheon of brilliance. Rewarded for her efforts with the 2023 Brodrick Trophy, the honour simultaneously affirmed her standing as one of the New Brunswick Reds all-time greats.
From the outset, Woodland topped all goaltenders with a sparkling save percentage of .960. Her statistical dominance included a national ranking of fourth in two significant categories. A solid .824 win percentage, based on a superlative record of 23-5, was complemented by a 1.10 goals against average of 1.10.
Earlier in the season, Woodland backstopped Canada to the gold medal at the Winter Universiade, their first since 2013. Posting three shutouts for Canada, she needed only 12 saves in the final versus Japan. Coincidentally, the glorious linkage to the Universiade was evident concerning the other group of distinguished nominees for the Trophy.
Of note, all of the nominees were named to Canada’s roster for women’s ice hockey at the 2023 Winter Universiade. This group included Tatum Amy, captain of the Mount Royal Cougars, Waterloo Warriors star forward Leah Herrfort, plus Audrey Anne Veillette of Les Carabins de Montreal. Fittingly, each earned a place as U Sports All-Canadians. In addition, Woodland was among four stars from the Atlantic University Sports (AUS) conference to earn All-Canadian honours, joined by Saint Mary’s star forward Shae Demale, plus St. Francis Xavier X-Women Lauren Dabrowski and Maggy Burbridge. Burbridge and Demale also called Woodland a teammate at the Winter Universiade.
The first goalie to earn the prestigious Trophy since 2016, when Valerie Lamenta of the Guelph Gryphons gained such acclaim, Woodland shares some common threads. Worth noting, both not only wore the Maple Leaf at the Winter Universiade, each helped their respective teams qualify for Nationals in the year of their Trophy win.
With the U Sports Awards part of a gala event at the Nationals, Woodland enjoyed the best of both worlds, as her Reds teammates were in attendance. Just a few days prior, Woodland earned the Atlantic University Sports (AUS) Female Athlete of the Week Award, after the Reds enjoyed a dominant sweep in the conference tournament. Continuing to add to her haul of hockey hardware, the presence of her teammates reinforced the strong sense of friendship and unity.
“I was definitely caught off guard when I found out that I won. I was obviously against multiple other players that were very deserving of the award, so I was very honoured when it was announced.
It meant a lot to me to also have my teammates and staff there in my support. A large portion of our group has been at UNB since 2018 so it was easy for me to refer to them as my second family. It was a very special evening.”
Since the Reds return to U Sports ice hockey, their rise to national prominence and assortment of star power is among one of the most riveting in recent history. Undeniably, Woodland holds an essential place in the program’s narrative. Named a USports All-Rookie in 2019, the honour foreshadowed a brilliant career, marking an upward progression as one of the first stars for the reborn Reds.
Becoming the first player in program history bestowed the honour of the Brodrick Trophy, Woodland’s team first approach shines through. Quick to acknowledge the impressive talent that have worn the Reds paraphernalia since their return on October 13, 2018, an event which saw Woodland earn Second Star of the Game, she is confident that the haul of hockey hardware is poised to continue.
“It is very special to me to be the first UNB player to be recognized for this award. I think it goes to show what UNB’s programs are capable of when developing their athletes and teams in all sports. I am confident that there will be more players from UNB in the near future that are top contenders for this award.”
Following a dream season in 2021-22 defined by the celebrated double of AUS regular season and conference championships, ranked in the national polls for the first time, Woodland proved essential in repeating such a phenomenal feat once again. Perched atop the conference with 20+ wins in the regular season, the gregarious goaltender demonstrated why she is a prime time player.
Facing elimination in the conference finals, Woodland displayed great poise, prevailing in a 1-0 shut out of the X-Women. With the final game of the series needing double overtime to decide the winner, a capacity crowd at Aitken Centre saw graduating player Frederike Cyr score the biggest goal of her career, allowing the Reds to return to Nationals for the second consecutive year, another historic first in program lore. With 33 saves, the path to glory propelled Woodland into the conversation among the nation’s finest.
Reflecting on the honour of the Brodrick Trophy and another season filled with achievement, also providing inspiration as a hockey humanitarian through Hockey Gives Blood, the bigger picture is equally prevalent. Proud of the collaborative effort that empowered the Reds to remain a nationally ranked program, a place of prominence in New Brunswick’s sporting footprint, the greatest rewards have consisted of enjoyment and gratitude.
“I actually went into this season with the goal of being in contention for a community service award of some sort. I have really enjoyed my work while being a player ambassador with Hockey Gives Blood, so to have the opportunity to use my sport to give back to the community has been really fun.
It was a season that I was looking forward to seeing where our team could go and what our team could do all while building on last year, so it was definitely a bonus to be rewarded with such an amazing award.”
“All quotes obtained first hand unless otherwise indicated“