Over the years, Sarah, 22, has gone from playing Kitchener Girls Rep Hockey as well as being a Referee for KMHA, to playing for the
PWHL K-W Rangers and currently on the University of Waterloo Women’s Hockey team.
Along the way, Sarah, has many fond memories of hockey and her coaches. One coach in particular, Daryll Smith, who coached Sarah when she played for the Lady Rangers Bantam AA, motivated and ensured that practices not only focused on skating and systems but included a fun aspect to them. “I found his attitude towards the game the most appealing. He loved the sport and wanted us as a team to succeed. He took an approach that led with creativity and drive, with an understanding that you are going to make mistakes but as long as you work your hardest and gave it your all, good things will come. He helped me understand that we can all have bad days and that’s okay and never a reason to give up. He made sure that his players felt like they were important, and he selected his coaching staff that held his values as well. I can never say enough good things to properly represent how important he was in my hockey career along with how positive and caring Daryll is!” Looking back, she smiles with memories of being with her teammates at the rink and last year scoring a hattrick with UofW. “The hattrick didn’t win the game for us but helped me get out of my slump. I don’t think I have ever had a hattrick in a league game before.” While being a KMHA referee, the best time was reffing the SHI Tournament, an International tournament for children and adults with developmental disabilities. Seeing the smiles and joy on the players faces reminded Sarah of why she started playing hockey in the first place.
The road to the PWHL was faced with challenges. Sarah didn’t consider herself the fastest player, so she knew she had to prove her worth through other actions. She was known for her hands and puck control abilities. She proved to the coaches that these skills and my other attributes outweighed my skating speed. She quickly learned how to read the ice and make plays to compete at that level. This determination carried on earning her a spot on the University roster. “Sarah was a pleasure to coach. She was always receptive to feedback and tried instantly to implement anything we told her. She is very competitive, always willing to do what is asked of her to win but is also able to add some comedic relief into things” – Kevin Nogueira, Sarah’s former UofW Assistant Coach and current Coach for the Ontario Hockey Academy Female Program.
Away from the rink, Sarah is in her fourth year studying online towards a double major of Sociology and Legal studies with a minor in Peace & Conflict Studies - “I’m waiting patiently at home with my 6-month-old puppy and family, for teams to be allowed back on ice to practice and play again.” She also enjoys playing soccer to keep active while also taking time to relax and watch Harry Potter and Disney movies and listen to country music.
Asked if she has any words for our young female hockey players, “Never quit. You don’t have to be the fastest, smartest, or biggest player to succeed. Find your own motivation and use that to find success on or off the ice.
Hockey for me, has helped me understand how hard work pays off, whatever is worth having is worth the effort that gets you there. There are no shortcuts in life, so never quit or cheat. It has help to keep myself grounded, to strengthen my work ethic and has built a community that I know supports me and will help me succeed in life. When I need extra motivation on or off the ice, I look inside myself and think about the image I want to portray. Someone who never gives up and is helpful for those around them. I hope I can inspire and slightly help form a path for others that follow behind me to have the opportunities they need and desire to succeed.”