M’CHIGEENG—This season’s girls’ hockey team at Manitoulin Secondary School (MSS) is already out playing exhibition games and preparing to take on the tough competitors across the league. If the team’s initial game results are any indication, this season is sure to be a good one.
“I think the girls will play excellent together this year,” says team manager Mel Cheng. “We have a wonderful group of girls, all very supportive of each other.”
This year’s team is made of 20 athletes and the majority of the team is returning from last year. The players are Tessa Bellmore, Sophie Bondi, Gabby Corbiere, Whittier Gauthier, Harmony Kaiser-Fox, Trinity Leeson, Randi Lovelace, Maddy Niven, Mikayla Noble, Laura Orford, Mya Otosquaiob, Hailey McGillis-Prior, Zoe Redmond, Avery Sheppard, Lindsay Sheppard, Faith Taylor, Jenna Taylor, Jacey Varey, Hannah Woestenenk and Bailey Yaschuk.
Laura, Zoe, Lindsay, Jenna and Jacey are this year’s rookies. Maddy is the team captain, with Randi, Mikayla and Hannah serving as assistants. Sophie plays as goalie.
“I think we have a good mix of veterans and rookies this year. We have excellent goaltending, a strong defense and three very solid forward lines. This is the best-balanced team we have had in years,” says coach Mike Meeker.
Well-balanced seems to be a fitting description, if the team’s exhibition performance is considered. The girls have faced off against Espanola twice so far and won both of those games.
One player the girls’ team missed out on for this season is up-and-coming goalie Jenelle Manitowabi. Mr. Meeker says her placement on MSS’ brother team will suit her well.
“I think Janelle playing for the boys’ team is great,” he says. “It will be a great challenge for her and it’s what she wanted.”
Assistant coach Corey Karn also says he is pleased with how the team has come together in these early stages.
“So far, the girls have shown dedication and hard work. We’re looking forward to watching them improve and grow as a team this year,” he says.
The team’s trainer this season is Leslie Taylor. The regular season opens today, Wednesday, November 14, with an away game against Lively. The first in-season home game is the following day on Thursday, November 15 in M’Chigeeng. They will be facing Marymount.
Ms. Cheng says she hopes to see the community come out and support the MSS Mustang girls’ team as they begin their exciting new season.