By Sam Laskaris
FREDERICTON – Jana Headrick captured material at this year’s Canadian University Women’s Hockey Championships.
Although thrilled with the individual recognition she received, Headrick, a member of Garden River First Nation, would have preferred a little more team success at the national tournament.
Headrick, who had previously spent four years playing at the University of Toronto, ended up using his fifth and final season of college eligibility with the University of New Brunswick (UNB) Reds, a team that included Lily George, a member of the Nipissing First Nation.
The Reds won their Atlantic University Sports (AUS) title and qualified for their national USports tournament, which ended March 27 in Charlottetown.
UNB won their quarter-final match at the Canadian tournament, but ended up losing both their semi-final and bronze-medal matches.
During an awards banquet held in conjunction with the National Tournament, Headrick received the Marion Hillard Award, recognizing community service work by a student/athlete.
“I was super grateful; one to be nominated for this award and then to receive it,” Headrick said.
The award recognizes a person not only for their involvement in the community, but also for their academic and athletic endeavors.
Headrick had organized a six-week camp to learn how to play hockey for Aboriginal girls last fall in New Brunswick. She also worked with various partners to provide free equipment to camp attendees and was able to secure funds to provide registered players with a free experience.
Headrick knew she was in the running for the national award. She has already won an AUS award for her community work.
“Because of that, I was automatically nominated for the national award,” she said.
Three other conference winners from across the country were also eligible to take home the USports award.
Headrick, a 23-year-old defensive player, has now exhausted her college playing experience. She is expected to complete her master’s degree requirements in August.
Headrick said she will also provide recommendations on how to continue the Indigenous Girls’ Hockey Camp next season.
“Lily will take over,” Headrick said of her teammate.
George, who helped with camp last fall, is looking forward to continuing the camp.
“I think that’s the plan for next year,” she said of taking over the reins from Headrick. “I am delighted to help develop the program which [Jana] started.”
In the eight-team national tournament, the Reds beat Montreal’s McGill University 5-4 in the quarterfinals, which ended in a shootout.
George, a right winger, with the club scored once and added an assist in the game while Headrick also provided a goal.
UNB’s gold medal aspirations were then dashed when they were shut out 4-0 by Nipissing University of North Bay in the semi-finals.
The Reds were also shut out in their next game, 2-0 by the University of Saskatchewan, in their battle for the bronze medal.
“Certainly, I would have preferred the success of the team,” Headrick said. “But I think we did a great job at the nationals. Fourth place is not a disappointment.”