Having skated with the Nipissing Lakers since their inaugural season, Molly Sipprell’s career has run parallel to an exciting era of growth for women’s ice hockey in the North Bay region. With each season, the Lakers have improved on their win-loss record, while Sipprell’s development as a leader is one of the programs cornerstones.
Among the first recruits in Lakers history, the journey towards donning Lakers green involved a unique transition. With North Bay becoming Sipprell’s second home, Having starred with the PWHLs London Devilettes, she was part of a recruiting class that also included teammates Mariah Fell and Stacie Vink. The chance to continue their careers together certainly serves as a Lakers career highlight for Sipprell,
“Of course it’s always nice to play with girls who have had the same experience with previous programs as me. We always talk about our past memories and girls we’ve played with and where they are now.”
Recognized as the Lakers Female Athlete of the Week on November 23, 2015, it was a milestone that added to another proud achievement; OUA All-Rookie Team recognition in 2014. With over 75 career appearances, the Lakers have enjoyed a .714 win percentage whenever she logs at least one point.
Of note, the 2015-16 season saw Sipprell achieve career high in points, including the milestone of her first career game-winning goal. Said goal took place on October 17, 2015 vs. the Brock Badgers. In the 2-0 final, Henshaw scored on the power play past Stephanie Loukes.
Sipprell’s ascension to one of the team’s key leaders and cornerstone represents one of the great feel good stories in OUA women’s ice hockey. Since their opening face off, the Lakers have added to their win totals in every successive season. The fact that Sipprell has been part of every season in program history is a strong point of pride, having contributed to such a magical time,
“Obviously everyone wants to win and be the top team in Canada, but it’s a great experience that we’ve come so far in such little time. Our program only started four years ago and within the last two years we’ve managed to clinch a spot in playoffs; last year we almost made it to the OUA finals, that being only our third year with this program.
It is definitely a sense of pride to be part of such a skilled and well developed program that our coaches have created for all our Women Hockey varsity athletes in the past four years, and I hope we keep on improving and getting better every time we step on the ice.”
While Sipprell has contributed towards several Lakers milestones, there was a proud yet personal milestone that definitely helped set the tone for her fourth fantastic season. Considering that the OUA published an E-magazine (OUA Uncovered) chronicling the achievements of its athletes, the women’s hockey preview issue saw Siprrell land on the coveted cover with the text Northern Uprising, testament to the Lakers growth and its continued ascension towards elite status.
“Honestly it was totally unexpected; I knew that a picture of me was probably going to show up somewhere in the near future because I attended a photo shoot with many other athletes from Nipissing this past summer. Usually, the athletics at Nipissing doesn’t get a lot of attention compared to the other universities such as Western, Queens, and Guelph etc., because we are a smaller school, so I thought it was great that the OUA was able to recognize and promote our school in such a big way.”
Adding to the jubilation of such recognition was a moment that only helped strengthen the bonds of friendship and teamwork among the ladies that don the Lakers colors. As Sipprell and her Lakers teammates look to this fourth season with the hopes of new milestones and more glorious outcomes, the potency of such an emotional moment served to enhance the teams culture. With a Pink at the Rink event, which is a staple among so many teams, Sipprells part in the ceremonial faceoff was given more significance by the beloved presence of her mother.
Adding another aspect of sincerity to the ceremony was the fact that teammate Kaley Tienhara also joined Sipprell at centre ice, both adorned in their special edition pink ribbon jerseys. With both players’ mothers participating in the ceremonial faceoff, centre ice became a circle of friendship and admiration on this cherished day.
The experience simultaneously served as an uplifting source of pride for Sipprell, who was honored by the Lakers empathic compassion that resulted in a moment of silence honoring the passing of her brave father. Representing a proud sense of unity, it was a day that shall always hold a special place in Sipprell’s heart,
“It was such a special moment to be a part of. My family has had their ups and downs with cancer; my mom battled Leukemia for three and a half years and is now close to being 6 years cancer free, my dad fought Colon cancer for four years but sadly lost his battle four months ago. It was such an emotional experience especially with my mom dropping the puck at center ice, and having Kaley Tienhaara and her mom there with us as well.”
“All quotes obtained first hand unless otherwise indicated”
Photo credit: Brian Doherty
Faceoff image obtained from Facebook