By Colin Gaumont
In her second year as coach of the woman’s hockey team, Stef Thomson sees coaching as more than just a profession and more of a way of life. She lives and breathes the sport on an everyday basis.
“When you go into college coaching, you have to have that mindset or you burn out really fast,” said Thomson. “ I think this job isn’t quite a job and that it’s a lifestyle.”
Her everyday life tends to revolve around hockey. However, Thomson likes to stay active and enjoys travelling which also usually has something to do with hockey.
“My life revolves around hockey. Even the travelling I do, it’s hockey oriented,” she said. “But I love to say active, I play in a women’s hockey league, I bike, run, rollerblade. Anything active – I am up for it.”
Being a younger coach and having the experience of being a college player, Thomson feels that instilling a structure to make sure hockey and academics have an equal balance is important.
“I was a college player once upon a time, not too far removed, so understanding that the players need to utilize the time that they have and the fact that we give them a very structured day to day schedule I think helps them understand, ‘Hey I have two hours off, better open a textbook or my notebook,’” Thomson said. “Our structure helps align the two together. A lot of reinforcement: verbalizing it, talking about it and reminding them that academics are important.”
Entering her 4th season with the Ooks, right-wing and team captain Brittney Savard started playing hockey at a young age. From Port Alberni, British Columbia, Savard can’t imagine a life without hockey in it.
“I’ve played since I was about 4 – basically when I could walk, and ever since then I’ve loved it,” she said. “ I honestly can’t picture my life with hockey.”
Savard is currently in Business Administration at NAIT but has a diploma in personal training which she also has a passion for. Being in her fourth year with the team, there are definitely a lot of highlights and experiences that Savard has been a part of, including, team-building events on and off the ice.
“We’ve done a lot of preseason trips with NAIT,” Savard said. “We went to Toronto, Jasper and Banff. Obviously stuff like that was super fun, a lot of team bonding. But I think one of the best experiences was making the finals last year against MacEwan. We didn’t get the outcome we wanted but it was an awesome experience and there’s nothing like it.”
As a leader on the team, Savard sees this as an opportunity to help teach the younger players and help them grow.
“Helping them make the transition from high school or junior, obviously it’s a lot adding school and living on your own, so making sure that we are there for each other. Sometimes little things like grocery shopping you forget to do so just keeping them on track and helping them out wherever we can.
Entering her first year at NAIT, left-wing Kadey Rosie loves hockey and has quite the resume under her belt. Born in Sylvan Lake, Alberta, she has played at a very high level in her young hockey career.
“I played at the Alberta Winter Games in Bantam,” Rosie said, “Two years of midget AAA… The first year of midget I won a provincial gold medal in Midget AA and now I’m here at NAIT.”
Currently enrolled in Open Studies with taking some business courses, Rosie enjoys the atmosphere at NAIT. She has some experience in playing other sports but for the most part, hockey and academics are her life.
“I played a bit of soccer in high school, and a bit of volleyball but my main focus has been hockey.”
Being an open studies student, Rosie has a little more time to be able to balance her academics with hockey but time management is still very important.
“I have a slightly lighter course load than most college students so that definitely helps,” she said, “They are still university courses so they take a lot of time and time management to get a good grade.”
Entering the first season in her NAIT Ooks career, Rosie is excited to get out on the and feels that the team is making significant progress
“We are improving every single day and really excited to see how this weekend and the next couple of games go.”
Headshots provided by NAIT Athletics