You were named to Canada West All-Rookie team in your 1st year. When you reflect, what made the transition so smooth for you?
Camryn: Compared to U18 AAA, U Sports is faster and more physical. I was told that Women’s hockey at the U Sport level was more physical, but I never really understood it until I played. To be completely honest, one of the reasons I had an easier time transitioning was because of the small roster size. Roster size and injuries on the team forced many of the first years to play most games. With eight rookies, we had to learn fast.
Talk about point production. U Sports is a much more defensive game than U18 AAA, was it tough mentally adjusting to a “new normal”?
Camryn: With the low scoring games in our league, it does come down to defense. Blocking a shot can be just as important as scoring a goal. I have always been a defensive-minded forward, so I never really had to change my mentality or adjust to a “new normal.”
What was the transition like off the ice for you? Is the commitment at U Sports greater than U18 AAA?
Camryn: In U18 AAA, I chose to stay in my hometown and travel an hour to Prince Albert, Saskatchewan for practices and games. Typically three times a week, I would travel for practice, and since there were others out of town (some from Saskatoon), our coach would put our workouts before practice. So I guess the difference for me in University, I can walk to workouts in the morning. Since I had to travel often, juggling school and sports was a skill I had already developed before post-secondary schooling.
Is there a coach who has had a major impact in your hockey career, whether that be on or off the ice?
Camryn: My Prince Albert Northern Bears’ coaches, Jeff Wiloughby and Gord Hobson, brought my game to a higher level and I was given the opportunity to succeed. Going to the Esso Cup in Morden, MB is one of my best hockey experiences. Jeff and Gord always believed in me and pushed me to be better, all while having fun in the process.
As a Canadian, was the NCAA ever an option?
Camryn: For me, the NCAA was never an option. I figured out in grade 11 that I wanted to pursue a career as a Registered Nurse and wanted to take my schooling in Canada. But I know a couple of girls from the Prince Albert Northern Bears that have gone down to the United States to play NCAA hockey.
What advice can you give girls transitioning into U Sports this upcoming season (fingers crossed there is a season)?
Camryn: My biggest piece of advice would be not to worry too much and have fun. Points do not come easy in a league with such low-scoring games, so don’t worry too much about it. This new team is going to be your family for the next couple of years. Take the time to get to know them and make some lifelong friends. Don’t forget you are there for school as well: go to class (even if it is online) and use the academic help available to you.
The past few NHL All-Star events, Women’s hockey has been on display. What impact has this had on women’s hockey and growing the game?
Camryn: I think having Women’s hockey on display is an excellent thing for hockey in general. I think it sheds light on the value of Women’s hockey. Any positive media presence of Women’s hockey is a win.
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