Having returned for a second consecutive appearance with Canada’s national ball hockey team at the WBHF World Championships, Lisa Buratynski continues to blossom into a cornerstone for the program’s future. Gaining continued confidence with this subsequent chapter of her international experience, the result brought with it another podium finish, contributing towards Canada’s status as one of the sport’s elite nations.
With the 2018 edition of the Worlds contested in Russia, Buratynski and her Canadian teammates reached the gold medal game, renewing rivalries with another longtime hockey power. Despite the fact that the host country emerged victorious, the valiant Canadians refused to quit, forcing the fight for gold to be decided in a highly intense shootout affair.
Despite the final result of the shootout not reflecting the desired outcome, a valiant Canadian contingent denied its opportunity to repeat as gold medalists, it represented a chance for Buratynski, the native of Ajax, Ontario to experience continued growth as a world-class competitor, gaining an even more profound appreciation of donning the Maple Leaf through jubilation and desolation.
“It is always a great experience playing for Team Canada. Since this was my second year with the team, I got to know the girls better and it really felt more like a family. This was a fantastic group to play and travel with, and (it) made Russia a great experience.
Unfortunately, we did not get the outcome we wanted, but the work ethic and the passion everyone left out on the floor in the final game was unmatchable.”
Demonstrating a solid skill set on the hardcourt, along with tremendous determination, the privilege of donning the Maple Leaf is one that stands as an integral aspect of Buratynski’s sporting endeavors. While the opportunity to experience a second straight podium finish represented a proud milestone, her memories of the event reflect a compelling character and humility.
Employing tremendous maturity, Buratynski indicates how the learning process involved a more cerebral approach to the game, while excelling under expectations. Entering the tournament as defending gold medalists, which was understandably, a new experience for Buratynski, she accepted it as a personal challenge, eager to surpass expectations, while overcoming any adversity with a combination of character and resolve,
“I think there is always pressure to be better. Each experience is a learning opportunity for us to make smarter plays and be better positionally. We definitely were the team to beat all tournament so the pressure was on. There was not really much difference between Czech and Russia.
The plane ride was a little longer and getting adapted to the time zone was difficult. I was not used to the sun setting at 11 pm and back up at 3 am. Our curtains in the hotel did not block out the light very well, so sleep was interrupted, thank God for naps!
We lost a few girls, but the girls we picked up made up for it. They worked hard on and off the floor and played like they have been on this team for years.”
Held just a few weeks before the FIFA World Cup, which was also hosted in Russia, the WBHF Worlds presented an opportunity for Buratynski to indulge in the nation’s sporting zeitgeist. Along with a tour of the renowned Red Square, an integral structure in Moscow’s landscape, the theme of growth in Burtaynski’s ball hockey career certainly took on a more worldly meaning,
“It is hard to pick a favorite moment because this trip was so much fun. I loved playing against the Russians, because their skill set was close to ours and we had to work hard to earn our goals.
Our trip to Moscow on the first night was fun, as we got to see all the fanfest activities for FIFA getting set up, and touring Red Square. It is always fun to explore a new city and try different food.”
In addition to her status as a member of Canada’s national team, Buratynski’s abilities and keen instinct have also translated into a strong on-ice leadership at the university level. Suiting up for the Brock Badgers, based out of St. Catharines, Ontario, over the course of three seasons, Buratynski logged over 65 appearances.
Simultaneously part of a proud international legacy for the program, Buratynski is joined by a collection of players at Brock that have excelled on the ice or on the hardcourts. From a ball hockey perspective, teammate Carly Blomberg also enjoyed the prestige of international competition.
Wearing the colors of Team Italia, she played alongside her older sister, Alicia, an alum of the Ottawa Gee-Gees women’s ice hockey program, during an international tournament in 2017. As a side note, Carly and Alicia were among four pairs of sisters involved with Team Italia.
This unique element of Brock athletic lore also involves its coaching staff. Of note, Badgers head coach Margot Page skated for Canada’s national women’s team at numerous IIHF events in the 1990s, part of a formative time for the modern rebirth of female hockey.
Strength and Conditioning coach Vicki Bendus captured the Patty Kazmaier Award in 2010, awarded to the Most Outstanding Player in NCAA women’s ice hockey. Competing for Canada’s national ice hockey team in 2012, capturing gold at the IIHF Women’s Worlds, Bendus also spent time with the CWHL’s Brampton Thunder.
Surrounded by such accomplished women, Buratynski was always inspired to set a positive example both on and off the ice. Among the core players of the Badgers defensive unit, Buratynski also took on a commendable role, serving as a mentor for the younger players,
“I do see myself as a leader at Brock. I know when to step up in key moments but I also know when I need to take a step back.
I strive to be the most positive person on the bench and give my teammates support on the ice. I know when to have fun and when to be serious. If any of the girls had an issue or needed help, they were always free to reach out to me.”
Despite the fact that her final season in Badgers colors presented an off-season setback, the ability of Buratynski to stage a brave and courageous comeback represented her greatest triumph.
With the encouragement of players and coaches alike, it was the kind of effort that was testament to her examples of hard work both on and off the ice.
Although Buratynski would have to wait until January 20, 2018 to log her first goal of said season, finding the back of the net against goaltender Stephanie Sluys in a 6-2 loss versus Waterloo, the effort on the ice was never lacking. With a constant display of perseverance inspiring her teammates, the season was one that restored confidence in Buratynski, setting the stage for a return to one of the biggest venues for international ball hockey,
“It was tough being a senior this year because I spent the first half of my season recovering from my car accident that happened in early August. It was hard because I would make mistakes that I normally would not make. At one point, it felt like all my summer training went to waste.
Yet, when I was feeling better, I put in the extra hours outside of school and hockey to get myself close to normal. My game did not feel the same until January when it felt like my hockey sense was finally coming back.
My coaches and teammates were always there to support me and to tell me I am having a great game and I am very thankful for that.”
“All quotes obtained first hand unless otherwise indicated”
2018 WBHF photo by: Alexey Sizov Photography
Other images obtained from: