The UPEI Panthers have taken the first step to adding some offence for the 2016-17 women’s hockey season.
The Panthers bolstered their forwards with the addition of Faith Steeves. The Peticodiac Regional High School student has 28 goals, nine assists and 13 penalty minutes in 28 games this season with the Moncton Rockets of the New Brunswick female midget AAA league.
“Our program has one main priority for next year, improve our (offensive) attack by adding skilled offensive forwards and one offensive defenceman,” head coach Bruce Donaldson said.
“Faith clearly is a goal scorer. She has had success in every year of her midget career and is a key offensive member of the Moncton program.”
Donaldson said Steeves is about five-foot-seven and he believes she can have an impact as a freshman with the Panthers, particularly on the power play.
“She’s just very dangerous . . . She’s very gifted, very creative,” he said. “She’s as confident with her backhand as she is with her forehand.”
Steeves, a Havelock native, has attended the Esso Cup twice, played with the provincial team for three years and was part of Team New Brunswick at the 2015 Canada Games in Prince George, B.C.
“After reviewing many different opportunities,” Steeves said, “I felt that UPEI was the best fit for me both academically and athletically. I’m very happy to be joining the Panther family and look forward to helping my teammates carry on the Panther tradition of hard work.”
Steeves is enrolled in the faculty of arts and plans to major in psychology.
The young Panthers (2-8-2) are currently in the basement of the Atlantic University Sport standings and have scored a league-low 17 goals in 12 games.
They have two fifth-year players and four in their fourth year of eligibility. UPEI has six second-year Panthers and seven getting their first taste of university hockey.
“We’re quite happy with our rookies this year,” Donaldson said. “Their skill level is very good . . . it’s just an adjustment.”
The Panthers are close to adding a couple of more recruits for next season and still scouting others.