This year for the Guelph Gryphons has been simply spectacular. We have grown so much as a unit and truly played for the front of our jerseys, opposed to the name on the back. From the first time we all walked into training camp to the moment we left the Nationals dressing room for the last time, every single player was committed to this program. Never in my five years have I seen such a determination and will to win. We not only gave our best efforts for ourselves but also for the teammate sitting next to us that expect and trust you to fulfill your role on any night.
The final months of the year was arguably some of the most exciting hockey moments many of us have experienced. In the quarterfinals, we swept Ryerson with both games heading into overtime. We also had a very dramatic series against Toronto that forced three games. With this semi-final victory, we earned our spot in the National tournament that took place in Calgary, Alberta and a chance to play for the OUA title against Western. Despite falling short in the OUA finals, our team was still looking to Nationals for a chance to redeem ourselves and represent this program with the pride it deserves. The trip to Calgary was not only a success for this team, but also for the history of the program. It was not since the year of 2002 that the Guelph Gryphons were represented on the National stage. With a fifth place finish, it was a step in the right direction.
As for me, this marks the end of my University hockey career. Hockey has been the largest constant in my life. The routine associated with being part of a team, going to practice and mentally preparing for games has ended. Despite the sadness I feel when thinking about the Gryphon program carrying on without me, I realize how fortunate I am to leave the game of hockey with no regrets. Not once throughout my years at Guelph did I lose faith in my teammates or coaches. I entered the rink each day knowing that I was contributing to a legacy that any player could be proud of. The biggest struggle I will face is letting go of my involvement within the team. As captain this year I was put in the position to establish a winning culture and positive team atmosphere. No longer having that responsibility is something I cannot prepare myself to handle. I must use other alumni and the memories of being a Gryphon athlete as comfort. Looking back on the past five years, all I can do is smile. I’m so fortunate to have the experience I did with the University of Guelph. Even though the next chapter of life is intimidating, I will find comfort in a new routine outside the game of hockey. It is through sports that I have developed the character and integrity to prepare me for what lies ahead. I owe my university experience to my teammates. The way I reflect on university is not by remembering my favourite night out, the best grade I received in a course or the amount of points I get in a season. Instead, I take pride in the quality of friendships I have made and the positive impact I have tried to have on others.
I am thrilled to see this team reach an even higher level of potential within the next few years. Even though my name will no longer be on the roster board in the arena, I will still feel a sense of ownership and passion towards the Gryphon squad. I am excited to watch this team grow and develop into the national champions I believe they can be. From a young age I had dreams of being a member of the University of Guelph Women’s Hockey team. To establish such fond memories of this program and be fortunate enough to be captain in my final year is truly a privilege. To my family, friends, teammates, coaches and support systems I can never thank you enough for making the game of hockey a part of who I am. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
What a ride it has been.
Bye for Now,