With the defense of their Isobel Cup title about to begin, the Buffalo Beauts feature a roster with several significant additions. Among the new faces ready to make an impact includes one of the most talented free agent blueliners. Enhancing the presence of the Beauts defensive attack, Sarah Edney holds the potential to be a strong contender for the Defensive Player of the Year Award.
An alum of the Harvard Crimson, where she was named the ECAC’s Best Defenseman in 2015, along with nods to the All-Ivy League First Team and First Team All-ECAC Edney boasts a remarkable hockey resume. From competition at the Canada Winter Games to participating in an All-Star Gala at Toronto’s Air Canada Centre, she also brings significant professional experience to Buffalo. Having spent two seasons in the Greater Toronto Area with a club based out of Brampton, she was part of a dazzling defensive unit that also included Laura Fortino and Jocelyne Larocque.
The arrival of the postseason resulted in Edney officially being welcomed into the Beauts’ fold, donning team colors in an exhibition match against Team China. Not only did the match signify her first appearance with the club, it rekindled another fond memory in her captivating hockey odyssey.
Having experienced the jubilation of donning Canada’s jersey at the international level, Edney served as captain for Canada’s entry at the 2011 IIHF U18 Women’s Worlds, emerging with the silver medal. A stint on the U22 national team resulted in a gold medal at the 2013 Meco Cup. Undoubtedly, the chance to play against Team China not only added luster to such a great body of work, it affirmed her status as a world-class competitor, rekindling the fond memories of intense yet exhilarating play against the world’s finest,
“These games are always exciting. This is the national team of another country and they are only getting better and better. We are just beginning our season and they have been training altogether for a lot longer so they have that chemistry, so being able to have this challenge early on is good for us.
We got to see both sides of how our team reacts to being behind and winning. We were down 2-0 so it was fun to see how we bounced back and stayed positive even when we’re just starting to get to know each other and get used to each other.”
With anticipation building among the Beauts fan base, the first game since the Isobel Cup championship game was one that held significant drama and fast-paced action. Against Team China, the heart and character displayed by the Beauts is one that shall definitely keep them in the championship conversation.
Boasting a come from behind victory, Edney was essential in the Beauts’ victorious outcome. Registering a goal in her first preseason game with the Beauts, with goaltender Julia DiTondo logging the assist, said goal proved to be the game-winning tally, presenting Edney with a monumental milestone. With Isobel Cup hero Corrine Buie scoring the Beauts’ final goal, her second of the game, it was part of a captivating 4-2 triumph.
Constituting a solid start for Edney heading into 2017-18, her presence is one that shall serve as a cornerstone for the blueline corps. As the season progresses, she will definitely be relied upon for the same kind of big game performances that she displayed against Team China.
As the exhibition against the visiting Chinese was one that served as an opportunity for Edney to become acquainted with her new teammates, while familiarizing herself with the team’s approach, it was evident that her level of enjoyment was high. In discussing the chance to start a new chapter in her career, there is definitely a strong team culture helping set a positive tone,
“The first game was just very exciting. Being in a new rink, with new teammates, new coaches, new jerseys, new fans, just an overall new experience was very positive. I think with the depth of talent we have I was able to play with confidence right away and the transition went very smooth.
There were so many opportunities to play with different forward lines and my d-partner (Jacquie Greco) who played on the team last year definitely helped me just step into my role on the ice and focus on hockey.”
Part of a titanic trio of elite free agent talent, which included Brampton teammates Jess Jones and Rebecca Vint, it signified one of the most important free agent acquisitions of the off-season. With Jones and Vint bringing their high-scoring skills to the offense, which saw Vint valiantly block a shot while Jones logged an assist on one of Buie’s goals against China, complementing Edney’s fundamentally sound game on defense, their collaborative presence was crucial in making the transition to the Queen City.
Sharing in this journey with Vint and Jones, being able to call them teammates again represents a continuity in Edney’s career. Despite their status as new arrivals, the strong rapport established between the three over the last two seasons, should result in solid on-ice chemistry, resulting in a rapid adjustment.
“It is always easier to join a new team knowing a couple of people. We are basically ‘rookies” again so being able to go through that with people that you are already comfortable with on and off the ice is good. We are already pretty aware of each other’s tendencies and habits so that makes things smoother on the ice.”
With such an exceptional hockey background, Edney is poised to grow into a significant leadership role with the Beauts. Taking into account the level of talent, both new and returning, the Beauts possess a championship-caliber roster. Edney is quick to recognize that many on the team are capable of strong leadership, testament to her team-first approach
“I think what is nice about our team this year is the depth of playing backgrounds that we have and the different groups of leadership that we possess. We have players fresh out of college and then we have players that have played pro either in the NWHL or other leagues.
Having been out of university for a couple of years and having experience playing professionally already I feel like I can definitely help to make the transition easier for some of the younger players just based off of my personal experience.”
“All quotes obtained first hand unless otherwise indicated”
Photo credits: Michael Hetzel, Shelley Swaszt