Lady hockeysaurs flee by the dozen

By Lee Bogle and Sean Nyilassy

Four years, three different coaches, two different leagues and one degree. These are a few of the adventures of the Dinos women’s hockey players that spent their four years of eligibility here. These ladies built a program from near scratch and have paid homage to the hockey gods in doing so.

Next year will bring in a new crowd of hockeysaurs who must begin building from the ground up. Eleven players, most of them leaders, will not return next season, leaving the current team looking like an orphaned puppy shivering in the dark awaiting the new rookies.

Included in the departing player list are Andrea “Poupy” Poupart, Nadyia Fry, Lindsay Gerstmar and Aspen Haynes. While the list goes on, the sheer volume warrants a future article.

Some of the aforementioned ladies began their journey as members of a struggling Canadian Interuniversity Sport team. With a fledgling program, the Dinos had difficulty competing against national powerhouses like the University of Alberta Pandas. To allow the team to develop, a move to the less competitive Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference was suggested and implemented. Playing in the CIS league, our ladies would have five years of eligibility, whereas college rules only allow four. That being the case, this is the only team on campus lacking super-seniors.

The highlight of their career was last year’s playoff run, where the Dinos upset the top-ranked Grant MacEwan College Griffins. After being blanked in the first of a three-game series, the Dinos came back with a double-overtime win followed by a quadruple-overtime triumph. They continued on, only to lose a best-of-five final round 3-1 against the Mount Royal College Cougars.

Poupy, who lived through the playoffs, has been a vital component of the team. She was assistant captain for the past two years and has been a leader on and off the ice, though she won’t be receiving a degree any time soon. She eventually hopes to obtain a prestigious oil and gas engineering degree.

“It was great because we came in and half the team were rookies,” remembered Poupy. “We grew together.”

She will miss the hockey and her teammates, but will be one of many who will continue playing hockey as part of a league team.

Gerstmar is another that spent her full four years devoted to the Dinos. She graduates after another semester with a kinesiology degree. During her tenure here she has learned many good lessons and made some great friendships. What will she miss the most?

“All the girls and the games and excitement that comes with it,” replied Gerstmar.

One of many ladies who didn’t experience the intensity of CIS was Fry. She joined the Dinos three years ago from Augustana University College. She graduates from our institution with a kinesiology degree and a fist full of dreams. After spending some time in the U.K., she hopes to return to school and obtain an education degree.

While she wishes she hadn’t taken a year off from hockey during the successful 2003-2004 season, she still takes away many cherished memories. Despite having trouble singling out the best part, she does know what she will miss.

“Not the early mornings,” Fry impressed upon us. “[I’ll miss] having so many friends all the time.”

And fair enough: the team endures four 6 a.m. on ice practices per week during the season. Ouch!

Lastly, for now, Haynes also graduates with a kinesiology degree this semester. She began her U of C experience after two years at MRC. She now makes the icy move to the Oval Extreme team that competes in some hardcore extreme way in the Western Women’s Hockey League. But while she skates with a new team of ladies, she won’t forget the Dinos.

“The girls are lots of fun and I have lots of really good memories,” she reminisced.

The departure of such a solid group leaves a crater in the team the size of 11 players. Stay tuned next week as we continue to run down the list of departing ladies.

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