I can’t believe first year is officially over! It feels like September was yesterday, yet in the same breath, a lifetime ago. Exams were a blur I’d rather forget, but there was still some fun to be had in between panic attacks!
Even though we had finished playing games, the team still continued to practice and workout four days a week. Our ice times were dedicated to skill development; in the gym, we focused more on pushing our strength and cardio endurance. In addition to the workouts, a couple of my teammate and I took to running every day. Of course we wanted to get into shape in preparation for next season, but our number one goal was much more important: Summer Six Packs.
One of the best off-season activities our coaching staff organized was an afternoon of sledge hockey. Mark Dorion, a member of Canada’s national sledge hockey team came out to give us a few pointers; let me tell you, it’s a lot harder than it looks! It’s difficult to even stay balanced, let alone move around and shoot a puck. After a couple hours, you kind of get the hang of it, or at least most people do. Not so much the case with me. Maybe that’s because halfway through the session, my coach suggested I play goalie, and for some reason I can’t possibly fathom now, I agreed. Thankfully, no one could shoot, so at least I could make a few saves! The problem was that every time I went to make a save, I would bail. And because I was in goalie gear and am apparently quite weak, I couldn’t get myself back up. So Derek, one of our assistant coaches, had to stand by the net and literally pick me up every time I fell. So much for not embarrassing myself too much!
About a month ago, the season officially wrapped up with a Varsity Athletic Banquet. It was so nice to see everyone dressed up, a far cry from the usual sweatpants and t-shirts! Congratulations to all of our Ravens women’s hockey awards winners. A special shout-out to Kristen Marson for winning the Outstanding Graduating Raven award, it’s very well deserved!
The last month in Ontario was pretty hectic. After exams were over, we had a day to move out of res. Being in a little bit of denial about how much stuff we had, my roommate Vic (she’s our goalie) and I decided to put off packing until the very last minute; big mistake. Five hours, ten boxes and three trips to the storage locker with a van packed to the brim, we finally checked out of residence. Because we had to be back in Ottawa May 1st to take possession of our apartment for next year, there was no point in flying home to Vancouver for two weeks. Vic kindly offered to let me crash at her place in Ajax, which is about forty minutes out of Toronto. The two weeks were great, almost like a mini-vacation. We went bowling, mini-golfing, and to the driving range. I got progressively worse at each of these activities. I guess I should stick to hockey! The weekend of May 1st, we went to Erinsville to visit our friend Kait. Erinsville is quite literally the anti-Vancouver; they are polar opposites in every way, but I love it. Kait lives on a farm, so we got to go four-wheeling through the fields and hang out with the cows, one of which is named Alex. Alex and I bonded over our shared name and her love of my shirt sleeve.
I’ve been at home for five days now, and it’s really nice to see my family, and my high-school friends. It’s also a little strange to be back in my own room. Even though it’s been two weeks since I’ve lived in residence, the first morning back I woke up very confused and disoriented. The first thoughts that came to my head were, “Where am I? Where’s Vic? I wonder when Kait wants to meet for breakfast?” Coming home was a roller coaster of emotions. It was really emotional saying goodbye to my Ontario family. There’s a great quote from author A.A. Milne that goes, “How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.” That certainly applies. But of course, I am super excited to be here with my Vancouver family, and am pumped for a nice long summer!