Kristin Wolfe's university hockey career will reach its pinnacle this weekend when her Tommies host the CIS championships.
FREDERICTION, N.B. – Kristin Wolfe has been waiting for this moment her entire life.
The Chignecto native and Cumberland County Minor Hockey Association grad will be in the spotlight this weekend when her St. Thomas Tommies team opens the 2014 Scotiabank CIS Women’s Hockey Championship at the Aiken Centre in Frederiction.
The sixth-ranked Tommies open action today at 7 p.m. against the loser of Thursday’s Saskatchewan/Montreal games, while their second game is on Saturday, also at 7 p.m.
“It’s indescribable the feeling that I have right now. It didn’t really hit me until last night (Tuesday) when I saw some of the teams arriving. We’ve been thinking about it and talking about it all year and now that it’s here we don’t want it to end,” said Wolfe, who is finishing her fifth year at St. Thomas and hopes to go into the RCMP after graduation.
While the club got knocked out by the Mount Allison Mounties in the opening round of the AUS playoffs, Wolfe said the club has been working hard in practice preparing for the national tournament.
To help, members of the men’s Tommies have been working with the club in practice and playing scrimmages to keep the team in game shape.
Wolfe said the coaching staff has been focusing on special teams as it prepares and keeping the club mentally ready to go when the puck drops for the first game.
“Special teams win or lose games and that’s one thing we want to be strong on. Myself I’ve been working on the basics and trying not to get too worked up, I’m trying to have fun with it,” she said. “I’m trying not to think about it too much. I play better when I’m having fun and trying not to think about it too much.”
Wolfe had a great senior season, being named to the AUS first all-star team. In 20 games, she had a 10-10 record, a 2.04 goals against average and a .929 save percentage on a team that finished fourth in the AUS standings.
“We’re going in with very little pressure on us. The other teams here are conference champions and people are looking at them to win. That’s when we play better, when no one has high expectations for us. We’d like to sneak in and grab some wins when we can,” she said. “We’re the underdogs and we like being the underdogs. That’s when we play better.”
Wolfe, who went to Berkshire Academy in the United States for four years, said she still finds it hard to believe her university career is coming to an end. She is also looking back fondly at her minor hockey days in Cumberland County and some of those she played with over the years.
“Last night we had a thing where we had to introduce ourselves to everyone else and I have to tell you it felt pretty special to be able to say Amherst, Nova Scotia,” she said. “I’m proud of being from a small community and the support I’ve had is amazing. I’ve had so many people messaging me, texting me and calling me to wish me luck. I have about 30 people coming from Cumberland County to watch.”
She is also proud to be considered a bit of a trailblazer for female hockey players in Cumberland County, having taken her game to the university level. She believes others will follow her including Amherst’s Carly Jackson, who recently made a commitment to the NCAA Division 1 University of Maine Black Bears; Athol’s Kristy Brown, who is going to play goal at UPEI next year; and Brookdale’s Mallory Rushton, who is playing prep school hockey in New Hampshire.
“I was so fortunate in that opportunities I have had. I’ve had the opportunity to talk to Carly, Mallory and Kristy and I’m so happy to have them asking me about the process,” she said. “They are all great players and it’s nice to know there are others who look up to me for advice and support.”