Competing with the York Lions in the ultra-competitive Ontario University Athletics (OUA) conference, Sarah Power is extending the program’s legacy of excellent competitors donning its colors. With a sporting resume highlighted by international play, it has propelled her into one of the Lions’ marquee players.
Such a formidable background includes a solid body of work as a member of the Canadian National Inline team, highlighted by capturing a gold medal at the 2016 Federation International Roller Sports (FIRS) World Inline Hockey Championships. At the tender age of 19, Power, who hails from Caledon, Ontario, actually donned the Canadian jersey in two divisions at those FIRS Worlds.
Gaining the gold with the senior team, defeating the archrival United States by a 3-1 tally, Power added to her medal haul. Also competing in the Junior Division, the final result was a bronze medal with a 4-3 defeat of Finland, making Power the only female at the competition to capture a pair of medals.
Having also played at the AAU Junior Olympics (contested in Hawaii), along with a stint on Inline Team Ontario at the State Wars in Fort Wayne, Indiana, Power’s breadth of competitive experience, playmaking abilities and fundamentally sound approach have translated into an opportunity to take a significant leadership role on the ice. The 5’10” blueliner has logged 41 appearances for the Lions over the last two seasons, while increasing her prominence on the offensive side of the game, placing in the top ten in scoring this season.
“Though not being the most vocal on the Lions, I feel as if I have stepped up as a leader because of the confidence Canada Inline gave me. I have personally connected with every member of the Lions and have done my best to be a support system for each individual. I do my best to be there for my teammates no matter what the situation is, and I feel, as if it is the confidence given to me from Canada Inline that enables to be this kind of leader.”
Coincidentally, Power is not the only member of the Lions to have competed with the Canadian Inline contingent internationally. Dana Somerville, an Academic All-Canadian following the 2014-15 season, boasts a significant medal haul, including FIRS inline gold (2012, 2016) and silver (2013, 2014). A member of the Class of 2017, which included Lauren Cavarzan, Amy Locke, Rianna Langford and Justine Treadwell, Somerville skated in 93 games for the Lions, also taking on the role of assistant captain for two seasons.
Highlighting Somerville’s time with the Lions was the chance to call Power a teammate on the ice of university play and on the international floor. Both were teammates with a victorious Team Canada at the 2016 FIRS Worlds in Asiago, Italy. As a side note, members of the OUA-rival Brock Badgers, Carley Blomberg and Lisa Buratynski, both boast international play. In 2017, Blomberg suited up for Team Italia at the ISBHF World Championships while Buratynski wore Canada’s colors at the World Ball Hockey Federation World Championships, respectively.
Certainly, Somerville, whose second cousin is Toronto Maple Leafs legend Darryl Sittler, was a mentor and positive influence, providing Power with encouragement and motivation as she joined the program in 2015. Quickly developing a rapport, fostered by their connection of playing for Canada, it resulted in Power approaching the university game with a sense of assurance, confident in a successful transition. Worth noting, both remain in communication, sharing their love of Lions hockey,
“Dana Somerville has been a major inspiration to me on the ice and on the floor. She is intelligent and determined with an absolutely hilarious side. We immediately connected when we started playing together and have been very close friends ever since. She is always there for me to talk to, which I think has also greatly contributed to my want to be there for each of my teammates. I cannot thank her enough for the positive influence she has had on me.”
That kind of friendship was the foundation for the remainder of Power’s proud Lions career. Looking to emulate such strong values, Power cultivated friendships with younger players, taking on the positive role of mentor. Simultaneously instilling confidence and empowerment in the younger players, the result was the blossoming of a sense of unity on the roster. Undeniably, it served as the focal point of what Power enjoys most about donning the Lions jersey,
“What I have enjoyed most about the Lions is that we are a family. We have our ups and downs, but no matter what, we are always there for each other and do our best for each other. I love that I am a part of something bigger than myself and that I get to contribute to it.”
Statistically, Power’s best performance took place on November 26, 2017 on home ice against the Laurentian Voyageurs. With the Lions holding a 1-0 lead after two periods of play, Power and Courtney Gardiner contributed towards capitalizing on a power play opportunity, collaborating on the assists for Kelsey McHolm’s goal at the 4:22 mark. Over 13 minutes later, Power scored an even-strength goal unassisted against Laurentian backstop Karen Collins, placing the game out of reach with a 3-0 advantage.
Although Power’s offensive proficiency versus Laurentian marked her one multiple point performance during this season, it fuelled the momentum taking shape. Of note, it meant the third time in four games that she had registered at least one point. That sensational stretch also included her first point of the season, an assist on November 18 versus the Windsor Lancers.
During the second half of the season, Power logged a point that was definitely the most cherished of her season. As February 16 marked Senior Night for the Lions, a home affair versus the archrival University of Toronto Lady Blues only emphasized the importance of said night. Rising to the occasion, Power and Ellen Donaldson earned the assists on the last goal of the game, capping off an inspiring 3-1 victory. Adding lustre to the effort was the fact that said goal was also the last in the decorated career of Erran Lee.
In the spirit of camaraderie and leadership, Power definitely found a kindred spirit in Lee, whose twin sister Caitlin also skates for the Lions. Worth noting, several members of the Lions roster joined Power by specializing in Kinesiology. In addition to Power and the aforementioned Lee twins includes Avery Reeves, Erin Locke, Madison Davey, Tegan Duncan and Eva Hall.
“Having other teammates in Kinesiology is amazing. From sharing textbooks to save money and studying for exams, it has been amazing to have others doing the same things that I am. Not only having others in Kinesiology but having them older than me has been a blessing as they have been kind enough to give me advice on courses and assignments.
Mainly, the Lee twins were there for me throughout academics, athletics and just life in general so the fact that we were not only teammates but studying the same subjects has been really convenient so far.”
With so many teammates studying Kinesiology, it encompassed part of the experience for Power during an eventful 2017-18 season. Observing how an incredible sense of fellowship sprouted between this group of student-athletes, it was also part of a much larger account. Although Power contributed to several key highlights during the Lions campaign, there was not a key occurrence that stood out as a favorite. Instead, the appreciation of teammates and program rises to the surface, enjoying the feeling of community that comes with the prestige of sharing in this hockey chapter with a group of dedicated women that shall be teammates for life,
“I do not think I could possibly pick a single moment in an entire season that I love the most. We had various team bonding events and activities that were amazing experiences. I honestly could not possibly pick a single moment I loved most. Living in a hockey house has filled the past year with countless fun memories with girls I call my family.”
“All quotes obtained first hand unless otherwise indicated”
All images supplied by Sarah Power