By Charlie Pinkerton
The future is bright for Ottawa’s women’s hockey scene, at least if you’re considering the success of the local clubs’ Peewee level teams this season.
Ottawa teams reached the podium at every level of Peewee at this year’s Ontario Women’s Hockey Association (OWHA) championships. The Nepean Wildcats led the way, winning gold medals in the ‘A’ and ‘AA’ tiers of the division as well as a bronze medal in the ‘C’ tier, while Ottawa Ice chipped in by winning a gold in the ‘B’ level and Gloucester Cumberland added a bronze medal at ‘BB’.
Overall, Ottawa clubs collected 10 OWHA medals – including four golds – at the provincial championships. The Wildcats came away with the most hardware, accounting for half the nation’s capital’s haul themselves. Their total was the most of any organization in the province.
Jarrett Thompson’s been connected to the Wildcats for the better part of a decade, since his daughter has played for the organization for eight years.
“We’ve always done well,” said Thompson, who served his second year as the organization’s president this season and has sat on the club’s board for nearly five years.
He later clarified: “This year was one of our best.”
His daughter, Tristan Thompson, played for the Peewee ‘AA’ champs this season.
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“I don’t think we set a goal to win championships, I think we set a goal to provide the best hockey experience, the best coaching and the best environment, and if you do that you have success down the road,” the older Thompson said.
Those staples enforce better development and ultimately better results, the president of the Wildcats added.
From his perspective, Thompson says the club’s success extends beyond their competitive medal winners. The Wildcats are one of the province’s largest clubs with almost 1,000 players.
“At the end of the day we just want to see them enjoy what they do, we want to see them improve and we want to see them continue to build those friendships that we all know last throughout hockey and into later on in life,” Thompson explained.
Nepean’s other provincial medals came at the levels of Atom ‘AA’ (bronze) and Midget ‘C’ (silver). Gloucester Cumberland won a second OWHA medal in the Bantam ‘B’ level; The Kanata Rangers won a bronze in Bantam ‘C’; The Ottawa Ice Cats won a gold in Senior ‘AA’.
Former Nepean Wildcat Samantha Cogan becomes NCAA champ with Wisconsin
A name from Ottawa – Sam Cogan – will be etched in the record books as an NCAA women’s ice hockey champion. Cogan had one shot on goal in Wisconsin’s 2-0 championship victory against Minnesota on March 24. In Wisconsin’s 5-0 semifinals win against Clarkson, Cogan scored and had two assists. This was her senior season.
Guelph’s Chantal Gudbranson & Sophie Rodenburg win Canadian university title
A pair of Ottawa natives also won a national championship on this side of the border. Sophie Rodenburg and Chantal Gudbranson both anchored the back-end for the Guelph Gryphons, who won their first ever U Sports women’s hockey championship. The underclassmen will have a chance to repeat next season.
Rebecca Leslie captures Clarkson Cup crown with Calgary Inferno
Ottawa’s own Rebecca Leslie was a member of the Calgary Inferno team that won this year’s – and the Canadian Women’s Hockey League’s (CWHL) final – league championship. Unfortunately for the forward who is a former two-time New England Division 1 All Star, the CWHL folded a week after her Clarkson Cup victory.
Gee-Gees women’s hockey players help Canada to FISU Games silver
The University of Ottawa was well-represented at March’s FISU Winter Universiade. Four current and future Gee-Gees, Maude Levesque-Ryan, Christine Deaudelin, and Melodie Bouchard. Marie-Camille Theoret, were part of a Team Canada roster that captured silver after losing to the host Russia by a score of 2-0.
Jamie Lee Rattray & Geneviève Lacasse settle for world bronze with Team Canada
A pair of players with Ottawa ties also picked up world bronze medals in April. Jamie Lee Rattray and Geneviève Lacasse were part of Canada’s team that beat Russia 7-0 in the 3rd place game at the IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship. Rattray recorded a goal and an assist, while Lacasse recorded the shutout in goal for Canada.