Featuring one of the youngest rosters in OUA, the veteran presence of Brooke Anderson proved essential in a season defined by an upward progression. Although a postseason berth did not materialize, the Lions doubled their win total from the previous season, providing tremendous encouragement for the following season.
With the C emblazoned on her jersey, Anderson, raised in Winnipeg, followed a proud lineage of admirable leaders, including Lisa Stathopoulos, Amy and Erin Locke, Jenna Gray and Kelsey McHolm, among others.
Certainly, the privilege of the captaincy provided a fitting tribute for such a character individual. Reflecting on the proud milestone with a gratitude and respect for team and program history alike, it was a role accepted with dignity.
“Stepping into the role of captain in my final year meant a lot to me. Having my teammates and coaches believing in me to lead the team was pretty special. It was a huge honour to join a group of amazing women who wore the ‘C’ before me.”
Having never missed a game in her first four seasons, the strong work ethic and durability of Anderson, a true iron woman, was evidenced by 27 appearances this season. Bringing a commitment to every game, she helped the young Lions, a roster consisting of nine first year players, manage through a season defined by growth.
Providing such new faces with a role model, Anderson was a throwback to an exhilarating time for the program. Belonging to the roster that reached the McCaw Cup Finals in 2020, simultaneously qualifying for Nationals, one of the greatest teams in university history, the experience remains a source of residual warmth. As a side note, other players from this season’s Lions roster that played on that tremendous team included fellow Winnipeg Avros alumnae Taylor Coward and Julia McLennan, twin sisters Ava and Ilana Ricker-Singh, plus goaltenders Julianna Thomson and Serena Vilde.
“The 2019/20 York team will forever go down as the best team I have played for over my hockey career. Reaching the McCaw Cup was a huge milestone for the program and revealed all the work that the players, coaches, and staff had put in for the years leading up to that season.
It is a lot of fun to play hockey, but playing it with your best friends while being nationally ranked and going to the McCaw Cup is pretty cool too. Overall, the biggest highlight over my York career was creating friendships that will last a lifetime.”
Taking into account that the Lions won six games when Anderson logged at least one point, accounting for more than 60 percent of their wins, it stood as testament to her leadership.
Starting the season with a point in the Lions first three games, her finest statistical performance involved three points versus the Brock Badgers on November 13. Recording the game winning goal in a 3-0 triumph, also assisting on both goals by rookie sensation Jenn Shaw, while Thomson recorded 24 saves.
Another heroic performance for Anderson took place in a compelling chapter of the Subway Series versus distinguished rivals, the TMU Bold. Suffering through three full games without a goal, the Lions roared back with a four goal outburst in a highly emotional January 12 affair.
As the lead changed hands three times in regulation, Lions skaters Alexa Giantsopoulos, Lexi Anonech and Shaw contributed goals. With overtime required, Anderson enjoyed more than a season highlight, but one of the finest moments of her Lions career. Along with Coward, both assisting on the game winning tally by Ava Ricker-Singh, turning the page on a difficult goalless drought, igniting confidence in the younger players.
Additionally, the performance versus the Bold provided an element of full circle. Making her Lions debut on October 15, 2017, Anderson recorded a pair of assists in a victory versus the former Ryerson Rams, now rebranded as the Bold.
With February 2023 representing Anderson’s final month in the Lions jersey, such a memorable month began with an exciting note of celebration. Recognized as the York Female Athlete of the Week, awarded on February 6, the honour elevated Anderson into the campus conversation as one of the Lions athletic luminaries.
A home and home series with the Queen’s Golden Gaels from February 3-4 saw Anderson contribute three goals during said series. Recording a goal in the first and second periods of a 3-2 win on the 4th, including the game winning tally, the last of her Lions career, the Athlete of the Week proved to be the perfect complement to a thrilling performance.
Finishing the season with 125 career appearances, plus a career high in goals, the denouement took place at the Lions Athletic Banquet. The recipient of the team’s Most Valuable Player Award, it brought a crowning touch to the body of work assembled by the highly dedicated forward. Constantly focused and motivated, Anderson was both, model teammate and valued friend, her career destined to become a bridge between two proud eras of Lions hockey.
“Being recognized as Athlete of the Week was definitely a huge confidence boost! It is obviously a great accomplishment but what meant the most was the support from my teammates, friends, and family. It is hard to score goals in the OUA, so having some awesome linemates can really help the process!”
“All quotes obtained first hand unless otherwise indicated“