There’s a different feeling around the Saskatchewan Huskies women’s hockey team this season.
It’s quiet confidence, the kind that only comes from experience.
“Everyone’s kind of chilled out this year,” said captain Brooklyn Haubrich.
“Everyone knows what’s going on and everyone knows how the season works so I’d say we’re a lot more calm.”
The lineup features eight fifth-year players and four more in their fourth year of eligibility.
“(The) experience we have on the ice has really allowed us to … be calm and we know our systems extremely well this year,” Haubrich said.
“So we have a lot of confidence on the ice and we’re really executing things that maybe two or three years ago we didn’t do as good of a job.”
This is the largest group of graduating players head coach Steve Kook has had in his 13 seasons behind the bench.
Kook said having this many veterans on the team is a luxury.
“I have to get out of their way, I just need to let them play,” Kook said.
“I told a couple of the fifth-years this year, they just seem so much more calmer and in more control of their actions and their thoughts. They’re at a point where the game slows down for them.”
But they can’t do it alone.
As the veterans lead the Huskies into what they hope will be a banner season, they know the tone that they set will have an impact, not just this year but well into the future.
“Us older girls are kind of making an extra effort to bond the team and bring everybody closer,” said defender Leah Bohlken.
“In the end, in a long game, in an overtime game or when you’re feeling tired or whatever you look to your left, you look to your right and there’s your teammate sitting beside you and you’re like ‘I’m not going quit because of them.’”
Kook said he will be talking with his veterans to ensure everyone is on the same page now and for the future.
“We’re veteran-led, it really helps on the ice but we need to make sure that what they’re leaving behind is a solid base too,” Kook said.
The Huskies kick off the 2019-20 season Friday on the road in Calgary against the Mount Royal Cougars.