As autumn signifies the harbinger of another exciting season of Canadian Interuniversity Sport hockey, a remarkable number of women are contributing to a magical time at Toronto’s Ryerson University. From Lisa Haley spearheading the progressive women’s program to Kori Cheverie making history in an empowering opportunity as an assistant coach on the men’s team, along with world class official Vanessa Stratton serving as a skating specialist, their presence is complemented by another sensational competitor making a positive impact.
A former Brampton Thunder draft pick, Suzanne Fenerty has established herself in an exceptional post-playing career at Ryerson, providing leadership, coordination and friendship. Such values encompass a commitment towards providing a positive experience in numerous facets, as part of her work with Ryerson’s Community Events and Engagement team.
Undoubtedly, her role at Ryerson is an extension of a new and empowering era for women’s hockey, as players now become able to remain part of sport after hanging up their skates, finding satisfying and rewarding opportunities. For Fenerty, a typical day encompasses many activities, with a fulfilling objective of enhancing life on campus and in surrounding areas.
“Community engagement and city building is a major priority at Ryerson University and in the Athletic Department. My focus is on creating valuable initiatives, connecting our student-athletes to the community and providing them with leadership opportunities outside the classroom and off the playing field.”
Such elements are those that exemplify a strong emphasis on teamwork. It is the kind of teamwork displayed that made Fenerty such a highly valued teammate and significant presence whenever she graced the ice during her stellar playing career. Raised in Cole Harbor, Nova Scotia, Fenerty carved a significant hockey legacy, establishing herself as one of the finest to don the jersey of the St. Francis Xavier X-Women, eventually having the honor of the team captaincy bestowed upon her.
Contributing solid leadership efforts, her teamwork skills shine in an admirable way, bringing an empathic understanding of the obligatory pressures that encompass university life for a student-athlete, as academic obligations must be balanced with elite performance on the field of play.
“The most rewarding aspect of my job is working with the student-athletes on their community initiatives. When they come to me with an idea they want to put into action, going through the process from start to finish and watching the growth and learning they go through, is very rewarding.
In 2015-16, three student-athletes were recognized as university wide leadership award winners and a group of 9 student-athletes planned a trip to Peru to build a park and facilitate athletic programming for local elementary school students. It’s really neat to work with such amazing students, athletes and people.”
Complemented by an exemplary career at Ryerson, such a remarkable body of work only shines brighter. Fenerty represents how student athletes grow as more than just people in their university years, but those years are formative in developing them as leaders, dedicated to the betterment of their community. In addition, tt allows Fenerty to remain an invaluable mentor, akin to her hockey career.
Reflecting on such a superlative career, Fenerty assembled many memorable moments. While many of today’s athletes hope to emulate the proud achievements that she experienced as an elite women’s ice hockey player in Canadian Interuniversity Sport, there is no question that said moments were best experienced as part of a glorious team, reaching unprecedented heights. Although St. FX now represents a past chapter of her life, the devotion to her teammates and continued friendships embodies the spirit of collaboration, setting a positive example for a new generation of student-athlete,
“Two highlights from my CIS career would be winning a gold medal with Team Canada at the FISU Games in Turkey in 2011 and in that same year receiving a CIS silver medal with my teammates at St.FX.
I miss competing at a high level but most of all I would say I miss the people. I keep in touch with many of my old teammates who live in Toronto and across the country. You spend a lot of time with your teammates over your 4-5 years and develop lifelong friendships with them.”
“All quotes obtained first hand unless otherwise indicated”
Image supplied by Suzanne Fenerty