Part of a new generation of talented women looking to restore the Brampton Thunder’s glory days, while contributing new successes, Fielding Montgomery brings boundless enthusiasm. Juggling CWHL hockey with her graduate studies as a PhD student at the University of Toronto in Biological Sciences, Montgomery is highly coachable and able to assume any role in the interest of giving her team a chance to win.
Having competed with the Dalhousie Tigers in the Atlantic University Sport (AUS) conference, Montgomery represents the potential that Canadian Interuniversity Sport players can bring to the CWHL. A member of the AUS All-Rookie Team, it signified the beginning of several unique honors during her distinguished Tigers career.
Not only was Montgomery a CIS All-Canadian selection, she served as the Tigers captain in her senior season, and was bestowed the honor of Team MVP. Logging 16 points that season, on the strength of nine goals, her sparkling work ethic set a positive example as the team featured 15 freshmen on its roster.
Taking into account her solid leadership skills at Dalhousie, she is poised to make a significant contribution for the Thunder. As a Varsity Council Representative for the women’s hockey team, she also spearheaded an initiative in her senior season that saw the Tigers join forces with Hockey Players for Kids (HP4K).
Visiting classrooms at Saint Mary’s Elementary School, Montgomery and her teammates talked to the students about the importance of reading and presented a program that helped develop reading skills. The experience was just as fun for Montgomery as for the students, finding inspiration in their keenness. It was the type of team effort that embodied the essence of being part of the Tigers roster,
“The most enjoyable aspect of playing at Dalhousie was my team camaraderie. For almost all of my teammates, Halifax was far from home, and so, the team quickly became our second family.
Through all of the ups and downs that come with the crazy rollercoaster ride of playing university hockey, the relationships I had with those girls were the constant through it all.”
Having made her CWHL debut on October 19, 2014 against the Calgary Inferno, the treasured career milestone of her first goal in CWHL play would take place on November 15. In a 4-2 win against the league powerhouse Montreal Stars, Montgomery not only scored a short-handed goal (also unassisted), she would score on multiple Winter Games gold medalist Charline Labonte.
During Montgomery’s promising rookie season with the Brampton Thunder (which also saw her appear on a hockey card), the theme was “A New Ice Age.” Representing such a novel and exciting time for the franchise, Montgomery coincidentally tapped into part of the franchise’s heritage.
Donning number 16 for the Thunder, Montgomery was wearing one of the most famous numbers in franchise history, and possibly CWHL history. Worn by Jayna Hefford, one of the greatest scorers of her generation, she accumulated over 600 career points in a sparkling career with the Thunder that spanned close to two decades.
Considering that number 16 has graced the back of Montgomery’s jerseys throughout her entire career, the privilege of being able to continue wearing such an influential number with the Thunder prestige. For longtime hockey fans in the Greater Toronto Area, it evoked proud memories of when a young Darryl Sittler wore number 27, previously made famous by Frank Mahovlich.
The chance to share Hefford’s number represents a proud moment in Montgomery’s career. With great respect for the game, she understands that it is also the continuation of a proud hockey legacy.
“I have always worn #16 all my life, but wearing #16 for Brampton has a whole new meaning. Brampton Thunder has so much history in the CWHL and Jayna Hefford was a huge part of building that legacy. I am extremely proud to be wearing a number worn by someone so talented and so well respected.
To wear the same number as a player you grew up idolizing, and to play on the same team they played on, is an opportunity that almost never happens. I only hope I can be half of the player she was!”
Currently in her second season with the Thunder, one of Montgomery’s finest qualities is a growing self-assurance. For a club on the rise, her efforts are synonymous with the goal of better days ahead.
“My biggest area of improvement to my game so far this year is confidence. Coming into the league last year, I was not sure what to expect and where I would fit in.
However, Coach Fines has done a great job this year encouraging each of us to play to our strengths and to trust our contribution to the team. I may not be our top goal scorer, but I am a lot more confident this year in what I do bring to the table: my ability to be a gritty forechecker and a strong penalty killer.”
“All quotes obtained first hand unless otherwise indicated”
Photo credit: Jess Bazal