As blueliner Lindsay Eastwood prepares for the next stage of her hockey career, she leaves behind many great memories. Having grown up in the Ottawa region, she would become one of the greatest competitors in the history of the Nepean Wildcats (PWHL) program.
Like so many other aspiring hockey players, her youth was spent on an outdoor rink. Representing a great aspect of sporting Canadiana, countless hours of leisure for Eastwood and her brothers were enjoyed there. In reflecting on her earliest days on that rink, it brings back a residual warmth,
“Actually, we used to live next door to a vacant lot. Our family built an outdoor rink there when I was about three or four years old. That was where I tied up my skates for the first time.
Our whole street used to come down and play on that rink. When we moved to our next house, the neighbor took it over. What a great rink.”
Serving as the Wildcats captain in her final season, it brought her proud four-year run with the club full circle. Finishing her PWHL career with 67 points (on the strength of 53 assists), Eastwood holds a unique place in league history, as she is among the league’s top five leading scorers among defenders.
“Being the captain of the Wildcats is a big honor. This year, we had a good squad and a great team. This team was full of leaders. We all worked together and we all love each other a lot.”
In addition to serving as the Wildcats captain, Eastwood experienced a special career milestone. One of three Wildcats named to Canada’s Under-18 roster, along with Samantha Cogan and Josiane Pozzebon, she was part of a silver medal finish at the 2015 IIHF U18 Women’s Worlds.
As a side note, Cogan would score a goal in the gold medal game, a visceral overtime loss against the rival Americans. Before the season would expire, the three would also reunite on another elite level of play, competing for Team Ontario at the 2015 Canada Winter Games in Prince George, BC. Earning an assist in a game against Nova Scotia, Eastwood and Team Ontario emerged with a silver medal.
“Getting to share that dream and play with a couple of my best friends was very exciting. To play at that level with people close to you makes it fun.”
Of note, Eastwood and Cogan both joined the team in 2011 as 14 year-old players. Having grown up together, the two experienced many special career milestones together, including a PWHL league championship. While Cogan has committed to the University of Wisconsin, she remains more than an essential part of Cogan’s most memorable years in hockey, but a cherished friend,
“Playing with Sam all these years has been pretty cool. To have seen her grow as a player, we have been through a lot together. Four years ago, we were rookies together on the Wildcats.
Back then, we were jokesters, but as we got older, we tried to have a bigger role on the team. There is a leadership that comes with that. We help each other out with it and that is great. To have shared this experience with her, I love it.”
Heading into this season, Eastwood is part of a Syrcause freshman class that features five players, including Wildcats teammate Karleigh Scully. The other Canadian among the incoming players is Allie Munroe. Hailing from Yarmouth, Nova Scotia freshman, she will join Eastwood among the program’s blueline corps.
One player that would have greatly benefitted Eastwood and Munroe this season was Akane Hosoyamada. The Banff, Alberta native served as team captain last season, graduating with All-CHA Second Team honors. Complementing such a milestone year for Hosoyamada was the team’s Best Defensive Player Award being bestowed upon her.
Although the Orange managed an 11-15-10 record last season, one positive was that their home record was a respectable 8-4-6. Should Eastwood and Munroe quickly adjust to NCAA play, the Orange may become one of the most fearsome defensive units in their conference.
Considering that the Orange have experienced some strong runs in previous postseasons, Eastwood may emerge as a key factor in helping the program experience a new milestone, qualifying for the NCAA tournament. In discussing what she liked about the Syracuse campus, factors that helped her decide to commit to the school, her positive attitude should make it an enjoyable four seasons,
“Having everything on the campus right in front of you was something that I liked. It has a big school atmosphere and it represents the next step in my hockey career. I am very exciting to be going to university. To be playing on the Orange hockey team should be tons of fun.”
“All quotes obtained first hand unless otherwise indicated”
Image obtained from: https://twitter.com/lindsayeastw00d