By Adrian St. Onge
NAIT Radio and Television student Cassidy Shandro has an intense love for hockey that is rooted in family tradition.
“I’ve been playing hockey since I could walk. It really took hold with my brothers and my dad when I was three. I have very fond memories of going out on to the lake,” said Ooks women’s hockey rookie Cassidy Shandro.
“Something about skating around and playing with a puck just felt liberating,” said Shandro.
Shandro doesn’t really know a life without hockey.
“My dad played. My brothers played. I guess it’s in my blood,” said Shandro.
The 5’6” forward brings her years of experience to a womens hockey team, having recently clinched a playoff spot.
“There’s something to be said about the competitive spirit it brings out of people. Doesn’t matter if it’s on the pond or in the rink. When you have 28 players all vying for the same goal, it’s unreal,” said Shandro.
Shandro said the only thing she doesn’t like about the game is the perceived negative stereotyping that comes along with it.
“A hockey team is a close-knit group. We work out together, we practice together, and when the end goal comes, we celebrate together. We’re pretty much a family,” said Shandro.
After spending time in the Alberta Female Hockey League (AFHL), the Edmonton native decided to try her hand at the collegiate level. Having received offers from other schools, she ultimately decided to become an Ook.
“Edmonton is my hometown, so being able to represent my hometown and have my parents come to games, it’s amazing. Plus, women’s hockey is getting better and better every game, and more and more competitive. It’s a thrill,” said Shandro.
“I love everything about hockey, from the [Sidney] Crosby deek and between the leg goals, to the hard hits to the late nights at the rink,” said Shandro.
“It’s a major component of who I am as a person and I feel like it brings people together.”