UPEI Panthers women’s hockey coach Bruce Donaldson welcomes new recruits Emma Weatherbie, left, and Cassidy McCabe to the team earlier this week.
©Guardian Photo By Jason Malloy
Two Central Storm teammates will realize a dream in the fall when they pull on the UPEI Panthers hockey jerseys for their first university game.
Forwards Emma Weatherbie and Cassidy McCabe will continue to be teammates, as they have been since atom.
“Playing university hockey has always been like a dream and being able to stay at home and play it just makes the experience that much better,” McCabe said.
Weatherbie said she attended Panthers’ games when she was younger and looked up to the players.
“Being able to stay at home and play, while furthering my education, is kind of the ultimate dream,” she said. “It means a lot to be able to be at home and play in front of friends and family (and) know you have the Island support.”
Weatherbie, a 17-year-old from Frenchfort, said she first thought of playing university hockey while listening to speakers at an Atlantic Challenge Cup a few years ago. McCabe said playing at university started to become an option once she began playing midget hockey.
They will see some familiar faces in their new dressing room. Jocelyn Dougan and Maggie Grimmer were veterans on their Storm team two years ago while they were rookies and Emma Martin was in her second year.
They were all part of the team that hosted the Esso Cup national girls’ midget championship at MacLauchlan Arena.
Weatherbie said thinking about playing in the Atlantic University Sport (AUS) conference is a mix of nervousness and excitement. She said it is exciting to start a new challenge and experience, but nervous having never played at the level before. But watching her former teammates make the transition settles some of those nerves.
Both players are enrolling in sciences, are good academically and bring strong character to the room, said Panthers coach Bruce Donaldson.
“The room is full of great academics and we want to continue that,” he said.
Donaldson said he sees scoring ability in both players and noted they are willing to go to the tough areas of the ice in order to score. He said McCabe will also bring the team grit and Weatherbie could be one of the fastest players in the conference next season.
“The game today is two things. It’s speed and it’s strength,” Donaldson said.
“Our speed is better and our strength needs to get better. With these two (additions), I think it helps in both of these pieces.”
McCabe was one of seven players chosen to represent P.E.I. at the 2010 Four Nations Cup skills challenge in Newfoundland and Labrador. Weatherbie competed with Team Atlantic at the under-18 national championship in Calgary.
The Panthers will be without forwards Christina Kelly and Lyndsay Oakes, defencemen Anja Weisser and goalie Courtney Arseneau next season. Weisser and Kelly have both graduated.
They have added defenceman Madison Clarke and forward Kristen Gordon, both are from Nova Scotia, Ontario forward Lindsay Johnston and Kings County Kings forward Alyssa Ferguson.
They have added two goalies in Bathurst, N.B., native Megan Sullivan and Kristy Brown from Southampton, N.S.
Sullivan has played at Notre Dame in Saskatchewan while Brown played at Pomfret, a prep school in Connecticut.
A look at the changes for the UPEI Panthers women’s hockey team for the 2014-15 season.
G Megan Sullivan, New Brunswick
G Kristy Brown, Nova Scotia
D Madison Clarke, Nova Scotia
F Emma Weatherbie, P.E.I.
F Cassidy McCabe, P.E.I.
F Alyssa Ferguson, P.E.I.
F Kristen Gordon, Nova Scotia
F Lindsay Johnston, Ontario
G Courtney Arseneau
D Anja Weisser
F Christina Kelly
F Lyndsay Oakes