Bringing a fundamentally sound game to the Brock Badgers blueline, Kaitlyn Colonna is one of the program’s building blocks. With steely confidence and an encouraging smile, she is determined to bring about a glorious era for Badgers hockey.
Enhancing the experience of playing for the program involves the prestige of calling Margot Page head coach. A former player whose career includes three gold medals at the IIHF Women’s World Championships, including the inaugural tournament from 1990, Page once recorded an astounding 92 points for Mississauga during the 1996-97 Central Ontario Women’s Hockey League season.
Also boasting a Winter Games gold medal, Page served with Tim Bothwell on the coaching staff of Melody Davidson at Torino 2006. Having also served as an NCAA head coach with the now defunct Niagara Purple Eagles, Page is entering her fifth season with the Badgers, working with Corey Williamson and Julie Stevens.
During Colonna’s freshman season, Page’s coaching staff also included Sara Bauer, a St. Catharines product who made her mark as a star scorer at the NCAA level with Wisconsin, whose nickname is also the Badgers. This season, Brock welcomes Vicki Bendus, the 2010 Patty Kazmaier Award Winner, as a skills coach. As a side note, Bauer was also a finalist for the Kazmaier Award in her senior season with Wisconsin.
“It is pretty cool (to play for Page). When I first came in, I found that all our coaches are all high-level. I enjoy playing for great coaches and I trust their judgment.”
From a sporting perspective, hockey is not the only domain in which Colonna, the alum of the PWHL’s Etobicoke Dolphins, excels. Also a prominent runner in cross country, she was recognized as the sport’s respective MVP in 2014 and 2015 with St. Marcellinus High School. Complemented by her hockey skills, it culminated in graduating as the St. Marcellinus Athlete of the Year in 2016.
Having developed a remarkable stamina and endurance through cross country, such ability is equally evident on the perimeter of the rink. As a side note, Colonna’s skills as a cross country runner made an impression during team workouts, gaining a score of 10 on the beep test, while wearing Crocs shoes.
Appearing in all 24 regular season games, Colonna made her debut on home ice, with an October 13, 2016 tilt against the Ryerson Rams. Of note, her first point came on November 5, registering an assist in a 5-0 blanking of the UOIT Ridgebacks. Placing fourth in team scoring, while leading all blueliners in points, it heralded the arrival of a sensational competitor.
Along with Annie Berg, the recipient of the OUA Rookie of the Year Award, both experienced the treasured milestone of being named to the 2017 edition of the OUA All-Rookie Team. Such an honor not only commemorated an exciting season, it may also represent a paradigm shift in the program’s ambitions of ascending towards the championship picture.
“When I first found out, I did not know if it was for a tournament or a game. It was pretty exciting. It felt good this season to do something that great.”
Statistically, Colonna’s best performance involved an offensive output consisting of a pair of assists, part of a pulse-pounding 3-2 double overtime road win against the nationally ranked (No. 8) Nipissing Lakers on November 19, 2016.
Colonna would earn the helper on the first goal of the game, scored by Amanda Ieradi against Jacqueline Rochefort, who would finish the season as Nipissing’s Female Athlete of the Year. After Lisa Buratynski’s goal in the third would prove to be the game-tying goal, Colonna and Maggie Spratt-Mallick would collaborate on the assists as Berg recorded the game-winning tally just 43 seconds into double overtime, adding to her growing legend.
Rising to the occasion in such a key game, Colonna’s efforts demonstrated her insatiable drive for success.
“That whole weekend, I thought we did pretty well. I played with a lot of confidence. Several of us were named Brock’s Athletes of the Week. I have to give a shout out to the forwards. I probably passed to Berg several times (laughs).”
Undoubtedly, Colonna’s work ethic will continue to assert the Badgers as a team on the rise. During the preseason, an exhibition tilt with Ottawa’s Carleton Ravens exemplified the heart that she brings to every game. Parked at centre ice, the last line of defense as the Badgers were parked in the Ravens offensive zone, it was another example of her penchant for inspiring efforts.
With a Ravens player attempting to put the puck past centre ice, a valiant Colonna intrepidly leaped. Employing quickness and guile, she prevented said puck from soaring into the Badgers zone. Displaying leonine grace, resembling a goaltender making a leaping save in soccer, or a defensive back in football blocking a punt, it was the kind of highlight reel play that makes Colonna such an indispensable asset.
Committed to hard work through example, it is the type of effort that is certain to inspire the program’s freshmen. Such great character is exemplified by the fact that Colonna has not forgotten the positive experiences from her first season, ready to pay it forward as the Badgers continue to be a program on the rise.
“What I enjoy most about playing for the Badgers is just the whole team. It is a great time with great teammates. Everyone is about hard work and getting better. As a freshman, we never felt like first year players.
Everyone made you feel welcome and I was able to fit in right away. Whether leading by example off the ice or on it, for the first year players coming in, we want to let them know what to expect.”
“All quotes obtained first hand unless otherwise indicated”
Photo credit: Mark Staffieri
Follow Colonna on twitter at: https://twitter.com/kaitlyncolonna?lang=en