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Sault College success spurs the growth of girls hockey

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The Sault College Women’s Hockey team is less than a month removed from its second straight ACHA W2 National Championship.

This week, the squad hosted dozens of young hockey fans for a Skate with the Champions event.

“It’s nice to be able to bring the community together,” said first- year forward Materia Land.

“The community helped us get to where we were, so it’s nice to show off the trophy a little bit and give back.”

The event included mostly female students getting autographs and photos, with the collegiate athletes helping some learn how to skate and even playing games of tag with other attendees.

Tenley Deluco, 8, said she had a great time with the older girls.

”I like skating with the team because it’s super fun,” she said.

“And when I first met them, they were like, really, really nice.”

The Sault College Women’s Hockey team is less than a month removed from its second straight ACHA W2 National Championship. This week, the squad hosted dozens of young hockey fans for a Skate with the Champions event. (Photos courtesy of Sault Girls Hockey Association)

The Sault College Women’s Hockey team is less than a month removed from its second straight ACHA W2 National Championship. This week, the squad hosted dozens of young hockey fans for a Skate with the Champions event. (Photos courtesy of Sault Girls Hockey Association)It was a goal to make memories with the kids and help motivate them to follow their own hockey dreams.

“They look up to us and we just want to tell them to just keep going and follow their dreams and just work hard and you'll get to where you want to go,” and third-year forward and ACHA W2 Tournament MVP Emma Lee.

“When I was younger I always looked up to the older girls,” Land added.

“I always wanted to be them and skate with them, so I definitely know it means something to them.”

Olivia Deluco, 10, said she wants to follow the same path as the back-to-back champions.

Have become mentors

“Winning championships several times is really impressive,” she said.

“It definitely makes me want to play more. It makes me feel more comfortable and seeing how like, how they do things, it just helps me learn all the skills they do.”

Young goaltender Brooke Storey said she had met some of the players before.

“Some of them have been to my class and have worked with us on the ice,” she said. “It’s really cool.”

Cougars head coach Brianne Shunock said some of her players have become mentors to those in attendance.

“I hope they realize the impact they’re having on these girls,” Shunock said.

Sault Girls Hockey Association Spokesperson Kaylee Hunter said the Cougars went above and beyond all year long.

“They ran the skill camp for us at the Northern Ontario Women’s Hockey League playoff tournament that we hosted locally,” Hunter said.

“They showed up to our Jr. Greyhound girls’ final games with signs in hand to cheer them on. They came out on the ice for our free ‘Try All Girls Timbits Hockey’ event.”

Hunter said that because of the success and support from the Sault College Cougars – along with the inception of the Professional Women’s Hockey League -- the association expects enrolment to be up in all divisions next year. 

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