The NAIT Ooks women's hockey led by Coach Deanna Martin will be looking to improve upon a disappointing finish to last season.
The Ooks women's hockey team started and finished the regular season on top; throughout the regular season, the Ooks rarely fell below the number 1 spot. This was quite the feat considering the high level of competition within the league. The Ooks final regular season is placing came down to their last weekend of play, where they could finish 1st or 3rd; the Ooks ended up finishing in 1st.
The team's success came from speed and aggressive offense, scoring 75 goals, 14 more than the next highest scoring team. Despite the regular season success the team did not advance to the championship final, for the first time in five seasons. The best of three semi-finals versus the fourth place Trojans included two overtime losses for the Ooks, ending their season sooner than anyone had expected.
The 2016-2017 regular season finish was the program's third-ever first place finish in the regular season. The team earned two ACAC all-conference first team all-stars and also ACAC Rookie of the year. With the past season's results to build off, there is no doubt the team will have its sights set on the 2018 Championship.
"One of the best cohesive groups or teams I have coached, unfortunately when it came to playoffs we did not perform at our best and therefore ended with a disappointing result," said coach Martin when being asked about the 2016-2017 campaign.
This season the Ooks are returning 13 players including 2016-2017 ACAC Rookie of the Year Brittany Savard, 1st team All-Conference Kendra Hanson, and Carlin Boey, along with 5th-year defenseman Kaitlyn Whaley. In addition to the returners, the Ooks have added some key recruits including Megan Leblanc and Alyssa Bertucca who have both showed promise throughout the preseason. "With a young group of athletes, who I expect to be keen and hard-working, the more experienced players will need to lead the way and be patient, "said coach Martin. "I expect us to be in the ACAC Championship final at the end of the season, regardless of what our first half results are. Like always, we will get better every single time in order to be the best."
After facing some tough USport and ACAC competition during the preseason, the Ooks are now set to open up their season this weekend against their cross-town rivals the MacEwan Griffins. With their home opener being played on Oct.14th at 6:00 pm in the NAIT Arena. The Ooks will also be presenting their annual Ooks Pride award prior to the game. Before the home opener, NAIT will be hosting their Annual Jersey Presentation where new players are officially welcomed to the Ooks family.