Having led the Carleton Ravens in scoring last season, Tawnya Guindon has a remarkable on-ice vision and the ability to accelerate at any given moment. Such experience has proven to be essential for this year’s edition of Ravens women’s hockey.
Raised in nearby Clarence Creek, Ontario, Guindon enjoyed a breakout season in 2014-15, starting her season with a sparkling two-point performance, including the game winning tally in a 4-2 win against archrival Ottawa. Playing for first-year Ravens head coach Pierre Alain, who led Canada’s U18 team to a gold medal at the IIHF U18 Worlds in 2012, she registered at least one point in each of the Ravens wins that season.
Bestowed the honor of Team MVP in the aftermath of last season, her strong work ethic and team-first approach have been rewarded with the prestige of being appointed as team captain for the 2015-16 campaign. Having inherited the captaincy from outgoing senior Sadie Wegner, who employed a very strong work ethic as well, Guindon adds to the growing legacy of women that have served as team captain.
Among them are the likes of Victoria Gouge, Sydnie MacDonald, Tara O’Reilly plus Sara Seiler, who represented her native Germany at the 2014 Sochi Winter Games. As a side note, Seiler is still involved with the Ravens, having worked as a trainer and team manager. Her positive influence is certainly welcomed as Guindon approaches the captaincy with appreciation,
“It is an honor for me, something that I was aiming at for a long time. It is a sign of respect from my teammates and the coaching staff. It means so much to me. As one of the older girls on the team, it feels great and it is an honor.”
On a team filled with 16 freshmen and five sophomores, Guindon has helped set an empowering tone. As she believes in their abilities and the chance to become a cohesive unit, Guindon is a positive role model helping to shape and influence the potential of better days ahead.
“I lead more by example. I am not the most talkative. I just like working hard all the time try to improve, through my efforts in the gym. I just hope the others follow my lead.”
Of note, she is not alone in forming a cornerstone of strong leadership. Other fourth year players include Hedda Gjerde, a member of Norway’s national team, goaltender Hailey Perreault and reliable forward Kaylie Welk. Also making an impact are alternate captains Robyn Belland, an RSEQ All-Rookie selection last season, high scoring Sidney Weiss, who grew up in Sarnia, Ontario, along with Audrey Ann-Boutour, who spent her offseason competing in the CBHA Nationals.
With such strong momentum, Guindon is hoping that it can translate into a postseason berth for the Ravens, who valiantly tried to avoid a last-place finish over the past two seasons. As the level of self-assurance and belief increases among its younger players, better days may soon be on the horizon. For Guindon, the feelings of assertion and support that are helping to forge a new and empowering team culture have contributed to her happiest days with the program,
“This year, our group is so close together. Coming to the rink everyday is so much fun. This year has been my best year at Carleton.”
An element that has made Guindon’s captaincy even more special is the fact that the Ravens celebrated their first win against the McGill Martlets in four years. Prevailing in a hard-fought 1-0 shutout at home on November 13, Guindon and Gjerde earned the assists on Becky Davidson’s game winning goal, while Katelyn Steele made 35 saves.
Said victory was not only a significant highlight in Guindon’s distinguished Ravens career, it was also represented redemption. During her freshman season, the Ravens held a 1-0 lead after two periods of play in a postseason match with McGill. Coming back with a pair of third period goals, the Martlets shattered the Ravens dreams of a postseason upset. The result was a sullen group of players, tears running down their tired faces, frustrated at another loss.
Being able to win against such a powerhouse like McGill has injected a tremendous confidence into the Ravens. For Guindon and her teammates, it has proven that they have the talent and the character to compete with any team in the conference, capable of winning at any given time, ensuring that every win is well-earned.
“We have been losing to that team for three years. I could not describe the feeling. That team has won the championship three or four times since I have been here. Beating McGill was definitely the favorite moment in my Ravens career.”
Guindon also tries to extend her leadership skills off the ice as well, following in the footsteps of other Ravens captains who proudly led charitable initiatives in the community. During her Ravens career, one of the team’s greatest qualities is their efforts to serve as hockey humanitarians.
“We help out at Hockey Fest. All the girls there look up to us, they are great to be around, so we try to set a positive example. We gladly sign autographs for them, and it is great that they hope to play university hockey themselves.”
“All quotes obtained first hand unless otherwise indicated”
Photo credits: Action shot by Mark Staffieri, Headshot by Carleton Ravens athletics