Spending three seasons with the York Lions, Justine Treadwell was a symbol of durability, missing only one game. This remarkable Iron Woman progressed on offense during every season, increasing on her previous season’s point totals, while providing her team with an opportunity to thrive in the ultra-competitive OUA conference.
Having first starred with the Barrie Sharks at the PWHL level, Treadwell, who was raised in Huntsville, Ontario, appeared in 105 contests. Serving as team captain in her final season with the Sharks, her leadership qualities translated well at the university level, bringing her assiduousness and strong work ethic to the York Lions.
In the aftermath of Treadwell’s final season with the Lions, she would rank fourth in team scoring, trailing Taylor Davison, team captain Amy Locke and scoring leader Erin Locke. Perhaps more impressive was the fact that she accumulated merely four penalty minutes, an amazing display of discipline.
Reflecting on the chance to wear the Lions colors, Treadwell’s improvement on offense ran parallel to a growing leadership role. Majoring in Kinesiology, she showed a serious commitment to fitness, an element that certainly provided positive influence through example. While Treadwell’s offensive numbers improved, the bigger picture reveals a remarkable maturity that shall be missed upon the arrival of next season,
“Yes I saw myself as a leader on the team the past two seasons. I strived to carry out this role by always working hard during every game, every practice and every work out session. I tried demonstrate leadership by ensuring my health and fitness was always its best and to inspire others to do the same. It was also important to me that all players, especially incoming players felt welcomed and valued. I believe I built a strong bond with many of my younger teammates and I intended to be a positive role model for them on and off the ice.
Statistically, this was my best season. I was able to fill more of an offensive, scoring role as compared to other seasons. I have never had a problem taking on a role other than a goal score, however it certainly helped with my confidence. I felt a greater sense of pride knowing that putting up points was expected and knowing that i was capable.”
Recognized for her efforts with the York Sport Excellence Award on two separate occasions, the most recent honor brought with it tremendous emotion. As the university’s Athletics and Recreation Department held its annual Awards and Scholarship Reception in January 2017, Treadwell was joined by team captain Amy Locke and Caitlin Lee.
“This award adds a lot more meaning and satisfaction to my journey as a varsity athlete at York. It gives a feeling of accomplishment and reassurance that all the hard work I put into hockey and school work is recognized and appreciated.
But primarily, to be honest, earning this award gives me an opportunity to make my parents proud and show them I am grateful for the support with my academics and my hockey career and that none if it was taken for granted.”
The only aspect that may overshadow Treadwell’s athletic spirit is a compassion that embodies strong leadership and devotion. Along with fellow Lions Stephanie Dovaston, Megan Finlay and Megan Lee, this remarkable foursome redefined teamwork while exemplifying hockey humanitarianism at its most revered and most admirable.
Part of a collaborative effort that also involved Toronto Police Services, a drive for fund raising definitely took on new meaning. Mounting their bicycles, this remarkable assembly of individuals engaged in an admirable 960 kilometer trek from Toronto to Philadelphia, in the name of collecting donations for the Paediatric Advanced Care Team (PACT) at Toronto’s world-renowned Hospital for Sick Children.
Of note, this expedition signified the sixth consecutive year of its staging. This fantastic foursome successfully made the trek in six days, involving an astonishing eight hours of daily cycling.
Prior to the race, bravura was displayed as this foursome each took turns occupying a stationary bike outside of a Tim Horton’s location eastward of the York campus. Helping to raise awareness of their cause, while raising money, there was likely a whole new group of fans as a result. In season’s past, Lee and Treadwell have also graciously gave their time to teach young children how to skate.
“This ride to Philadelphia was like no other experience. It was physically challenging, emotional and eye-opening. Over six or so days, I got to bond with 15 new amazing people and become so much closer to my friends who were also on the ride. I’m not sure such a physically demanding task would be possible without the encouragement and support of all the riders. We were given tours in the Toronto Sickkids hospital as well as the Childrens Hospital in Philidelphia where we were given the opportunity to meet some of the patients and learn about their experiences.
These moments were very touching and certainly contributed to my motivation to commit myself to fundraiser. I was motivated as soon as I found out about the ride. As soon as Sargent Hicks (TPS Division 31) told us about their plans for the event and fundraising for SidKids, I didn’t hesitate to jump on board. I had a bike and no reason not to. In fact, I felt privileged to be given the opportunity to participate in such an amazing event. I will never forget this experience and I hope to participate in future Cops Cycle for Kids events.”
Starting the season with an opening night goal in a 4-1 win against the University of Ontario Institute Technology, Treadwell also assembled a three-game scoring streak early on. Said streak would begin with a goal in a home tilt with the Nipissing Lakers on October 30, she would record a goal and an assist in back-to-back games with the eventual OUA champion Guelph Gryphons.
Taking to the ice at the Mattamy Athletic Centre, based inside the iconic Maple Leaf Gardens, Treadwell would provide a sterling performance against their GTA rivals, the Ryerson Rams. Supplying the final multi-point effort in her Lions career, the November 24 affair saw her help set the tone in a hard-fought 4-3 win. Adding luster to such a jubilant day was the fact that Treadwell netted the game-winning tally.
Scoring the game-winner against Ryerson would prove to bring Treadwell’s career full circle. During the 2014-15 season, Treadwell would score one goal and it was a significant one. Recording the game-winning goal, coincidentally, said goal was also scored against Ryerson. That goal would also bring with it a flow of emotion, standing out as one of the most heartwarming and cherished facets in Treadwell’s treasured time with the Lions.
“It’s hard to pin point one favorite moment. I value all the friendships I’ve made and the little moments that helped me grow as a player and as a person. A moment that stands out to me was handing my Grandpa my “First OUA Goal” puck after a game against Ryerson. He was always my number one fan and made it to all my home games (and many away games).”
Another opportunity at a favorite moment would occur early in the New Year. A January 8, 2017 on the road in Waterloo, Ontario saw the Lions emerge victorious in a dramatic shootout against the Laurier Golden Hawks with Treadwell shining in a heroic outcome.
With a third period goal by Locke, a 2-2 score at the end of regulation remained that way after double overtime. Netminders Lauren Dubie between the pipes for York and Amanda Smith from the Golden Hawks each supplied valiant performances as their nerves of steel showed in the shootout. Of note, the shootout would not be resolved until the fourth round, when Treadwell slipped the puck past Smith, supplying the Lions with one of their most exciting wins of the season.
During such a memorable senior season for Treadwell, it was only fitting that the final home game in her career brought with it one last opportunity for on-ice brilliance. Part of a senior class that featured Locke, Lauren Cavarzan, Rianna Langford and Dana Somerville, the February 12 game it was also an opportunity to rejoice, sharing in the achievement of a fine career with friends, family and teammates.
Hosting the Golden Hawks, there was a serendipitous tone for Treadwell, enjoying the jubilation of the shootout winning goal on their home ice earlier in the season. With such momentum, Treadwell was able to partake in one more treasured highlight.
Considering that a high scoring second period saw the Lions record three goals, including a pair short-handed, Treadwell would score one of those shorthanded goals. Placing her name on the score sheet at the 17:04 mark, as Dana Somerville earned the assist on this milestone goal. Along with captain Amy Locke scoring in the third period, the 4-0 final was the setting for a glorious send-off for two of the Lions most capable leaders, leaving behind an amazing legacy that made an impression both on and off the ice.
“All quotes obtained first hand unless otherwise indicated”
Photo credit: York Lions athletics
Cycling image obtained from: http://yfile.news.yorku.ca/2015/05/06/lions-riding-to-philly-for-sickkids-fundraiser/
Video still with Megan Finley obtained from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lBOqyHYGaQI