This week's Throwback Thursday takes us back to 2002-03 and the women's hockey team's first season as a varsity team.
The 2002-03 season marked the first year the Dalhousie Tigers women’s hockey team competed as a varsity squad in the AUS conference. With 4 returning veterans and 9 rookies on the roster, the stage was set for an exiting inaugural season. The Tigers finished with an 8-4-2 record in the regular season, and finished 3rd overall behind the undefeated Saint Mary’s Huskies and 4 time defending AUS champions, the StFX X-Women. First year head coach Lesley Jordan recruited her coaching staff in Alan miner and former Acadia Axewoman, Amy Simson who would prove to be an excellent fit for the team, providing just the right mix of leadership, enthusiasm and experience for the Tigers.
The training staff was led by co-trainers Tara Digout and Cory Christie.
The Tigers goaltending trio of Jennifer Smith, Stephanie Evais, and Rebecca Francis proved to be solid throughout the season even though the group had a combined one year of experience at the university level. Rookie sensation Jennifer Smith carried the bulk of the load, starting 10 of 14 games and finished with a respectable 3.2 goals against average.
The defensive corps was led by 4th year veteran Apryl Bonia. Bonia finished the season with 4 points and a very solid +11 ranking with only 8 penalty minutes. Apryl has made her mark as a tireless competitor who enjoys the physical side of the game. Bonia will also be representing the Tigers and her native Nova Scotia at the 2003 Canadian National Championships being held in Saskatoon.
Also leading the way for the Tigers on defense was first year player Lindsey White who chipped in a goal and 2 assists in the regular season and finished with a +9 ranking and 6 PIMS. A transfer student from Western Lindsey was named AUS First-Team All-Star and played a veteran role as a first year player. The Tigers defense played with a great deal of grit and toughness, and made up for their lack of offense with sound defensive play in their own end. Rounding out the defense corps are 3rd year veterans Megan Lewis-Post and Paula Oake, 2nd year Cherie Hewitt (assistant captain) and freshman Melissa Vezina and Natalie O-Grady.
The forwards were led by captain Sarah Wilkinson who made the transition from defense to centre after the Christmas break. Sarah finished the regular season with 1 goal and 4 assists, and a 66.7% face-off winning percentage. Sarah’s leadership on and off the ice and her work ethic set an example for the rest of the team.
Also leading the way offensively for the Tigers was 5th year veteran Amy Graham. Amy led the team in overall scoring with 9 goals and 13 assists, and was selected as an AUS Second Team All-Star and conference Most Sportsmanlike Player. Lori Jones, a second year physiotherapy student, was selected as an assistant captain and also led the team offensively finishing with 19 points in 12 games and 1.5 points per game average. Lori was also selected to the Tournament All-Star team during the AUS playoffs and was selected as the conference’s TSN Award nominee. Lorie Joins teammates Sarah Wilkinson and Tara Mullowney as Academic All-Canadians. Other key veterans for the Tigers up front include Heather MacDodnald, Maura Singer, Lindsay Colven, Amanada Wintink, Rache deVries, Melanie Browne, Leah Kutcher, Robin Sheedy, and 5th year veteran Maryelle Hannam.
Heading into the post-season the Tigers faced off against the UPEI Panthers in their quarter-final game, and skated to a 4-1 victory on the back of Jennifer Smith, who was stellar for Dalhousie in goal. In the semi-finals, the Tigers faced the StFX X-Women, and despite a solid effort the team came up short as the X-Women handed them a 4-1 loss.
Leaving the Tigers will be Amy Graham, Sarah Wilkinson, Apryl Bonia, Megan Lewis-Post and Maryelle Hannam, who have completed their eligibility or are graduating. These players have made their marks as fine role models for future Tiger hockey players, and have helped build a very solid foundation for the Dalhousie varsity women’s hockey program. Thank you and all the best from the Hockey Tigers!