Thursday, February 10, 2011

Gold medal winner rejoins Huskies hockey team

Darren Dupont
Sheaf Sports

The women’s Huskies hockey team will be pleased to welcome forward Breanne George back to the line-up this weekend when the team travels to Alberta Feb. 11 and 12. George has missed the team’s past four games while away in Turkey representing Canada in the Winter Universaide.

George, who has scored 29 points including a team leading 14 goals, returns to the Huskies with a gold medal around her neck after helping Canada knock off Finland 4-1 in the championship game Feb. 5.

“Partaking in this international tournament was absolutely amazing and a chance of a lifetime,” explained the fourth-year Huskies forward via email. “I got a chance to meet people from all over the world and play with the best female hockey players in Canada.”

George received an email in late September informing her that she had been selected to represent Canada at the Winter Universaide.

“When I first read through the email I was in complete shock and ended up having to read over it a couple of times to take in all the information,” explained George. “I just felt an overwhelming feeling of excitement, honour and almost a little relieved. I knew I was going to be able to get that opportunity and it made me scared and excited at the same time.”

George took the success she had with the Huskies and turned it into a gold medal performance in Turkey. The talented Huskies sniper tied for the team lead in points with 12, including seven goals throughout the tournament.

“Going into the tournament I wasn’t sure what to expect for playing time,” reflected George. “I knew that it was up to me to make sure I went there and just worked hard and focus on the things that I do best. Every time I stepped onto the ice I wanted to show the coaching staff what I could do. I challenged myself every day and pushed to be the best I could be. I knew that if I did that I would be happy with my play no matter how many points I got.”

The team, made up of Canadian Interuniversity Sport all-stars, finished the tournament with a perfect 7-0 record culminating in the gold medal victory over Finland.

“Nothing can be compared to the feeling of that medal hanging around your neck at the end of it all. All the hard work and dedication pays off when you feel the weight of that success hanging off your neck.”

With just three practices, each lasting an hour, it was a challenge to bring in players from across the country and expect them to gel as a team but George says everyone was focused on the same goal.

“I think the key to our team’s success was the fact that every player knew they were there to win a gold medal. Everything we did, we did to win. We were all on the same page. The coaching staff scheduled time for team activities to get everyone familiar with each other and learn a little about everyone.”

Now the focus shifts back to Saskatoon and the Huskies attempt to earn a birth into the CIS Women’s Hockey Championship. George feels that her experience at the international level can help the Huskies take their game to the next level.

“The biggest thing I can bring back to this team from my experiences in Turkey is the experience of winning. There is truly nothing like it. Sometimes the student-athlete life gets hard and you lose sight on what exactly is important to you. We know we have the potential to make it to nationals and take it.

“We need to recognize that when we play at our best we can defeat even the best teams in our league and that is exactly what we are preparing to do in these next two weeks.”

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