During the last decade, the growth of women’s hockey in Atlantic Canada has helped close the competitive gap in Canadian Interuniversity Sport hockey. A key figure in raising the profile of the sport in the Atlantic University Sports (AUS) conference was St. Francis Xavier scoring sensation Alexandra (Alexa) Normore.
Hailing from Bedford, Nova Scotia, Normore has competed with the Halifax Metro Boston Pizza Squad before joining the X-Women in the autumn of 2010. Of note, Normore’s legend would begin with the 2011 CIS Rookie of the Year Award. It would prove to be the beginning of a legacy that saw Normore blossom into not only the greatest competitor in program history, but in AUS hockey. While veteran leaders such as Suzanne Fenerty (who hails from Sidney Crosby’s hometown of Cole Harbor) were positive influences in Normore’s formative years with the program, she would reciprocate that role in later years.
Her greatest season may have been her fourth (2013-14) where she was recognized as the St. Francis Xavier Female Athlete of the Year. Only the third woman in program history to claim the award (following in the footsteps of Fenerty and Brayden Ferguson), she would win the CIS scoring title with a 48 point campaign on the strength of 33 assists, testament to her strong playmaking abilities.
In the aftermath of her fifth and final season with the X-Women, she earned her unprecedented fourth consecutive nod as the Atlantic University Sport women’s hockey Most Valuable Player. Of note, Normore is only the second member of the X-Women to have the honor of AUS MVP bestowed upon her. For the 2007-08 season, Brayden Ferguson garnered both AUS and CIS MVP honors.
With 32 points in 21 games played, Normore garnered the AUS scoring title, complemented by leading the conference in assists (22) and plus/minus rating (+21). Her sensational season contributed to the X-Women boasting a regular season record of 20-4-0. In addition, she finished her AUS playing career as the all-time leader in assists with 127, while her 205 points rank second all-time to Marieve Provost, who is also the all-time scoring leader in CIS history.
Perhaps more impressive was the fact that she earned a spot on the AUS First-Team All-Stars five consecutive times, reflecting every season that she suited up for the X-Women. Of all the X-Women program records that Normore shattered, the one that eluded her was the single-season scoring record. Her finest performance resulted in a 55-point effort. Only Candice Ernst can boast more points, having registered 57 during the 2005-06 campaign.
A 4-2 victory over the St. Thomas Tommies on January 18, 2015 represented destiny for Normore, as she became the all-time leading scorer in the history of the X-Women. Registering an assist on a goal scored by Kara Power, it would be her 197th career point with the program, surpassing Brayden Ferguson.
Normore was not the only member of the X-Women roster to gain a spot on the AUS First Team All-Stars this season. She was joined by fellow fifth year player Jenna Downey, along with goaltender Sojung Shin, who is also a member of the South Korean national women’s ice hockey team. Daley Oddy, a second-year player from Cranbrook, British Columbia was part of the Second Team All-Stars, while Nicole Halladay was the only X-Woman to be named to the All-Rookie Team.
Four times on the CIS All-Canadian team as well, her efforts culminated in the X-Women gaining a spot in the CIS National Rankings, sitting in eighth position. As the program headed into the 2015 edition of the CIS Nationals, they were the first program from AUS to be nationally ranked, testament to Normore’s spectacular impact.
The final curtain call in her career with the X-Women occurred at the bronze medal game of the 2015 CIS Nationals. Competing against the Montreal Carabins (the silver medalists from 2014), emotions ran high as both programs wanted their seniors to go out on a winning note. Despite Montreal prevailing, Normore earned an assist in the third period, leaving her mark with a point in her final game.
Despite the heartbreak of the bronze medal game, the bigger picture reveals that Normore’s career and her impact throughout Maritime Canada represented a much more significant accomplishment. Complemented by the chance to suit up for Canada at the Winter Universiade (where she won gold in 2013 with St. FX skater Jenna Pitts and earned silver in 2015 as an alternate captain playing alongside Daley Oddy), Normore was more than a superstar, she was an ambassador that represented the special attributes of Canadian university women’s hockey.
Statistically, the prodigious Normore made an impact from the very beginning when she laced up her skates with the X-Women. The total number of records, awards and honors has become too many to fathom as Normore set a standard for excellence that may take more than a generation to be equaled. Bringing the program to unforeseen heights, her legacy has helped contribute to the growing lore of elite women’s ice hockey in the Maritimes.
With record breaking puck (Photo credit: Erica Roberts Photo)
Winter Universiade with Jenna Pitts (Obtained from: http://thechronicleherald.ca/sports/1175244-canada-s-women-s-team-captures-world-university-gold)