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Saskatchewan Huskies women’s hockey team enters season full of youth and excitement

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WATCH: When the University of Saskatchewan Huskies women’s hockey team starts the season, they’ll be doing so with 11 first-year players added to their roster. – Sep 27, 2020

When the University of Saskatchewan Huskies women’s hockey team starts the season, they’ll be doing so with 11 first-year players added to their roster.

As of now, there are a lot of different coloured uniforms on the ice, as the rookies are using gear — pants, gloves and helmets — from the midget teams they played for last year.

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“Athletes just need to skate, they need to train, this is good for the morale of the players,” said Huskies head coach Steve Kook. “I have 11 new kids, nine of which are new to U Sport so it’s important to get on the ice and start doing things.”

On the flip side, they only have three fifth-year players: two up front and their veteran goaltender Jessica Vance as their last line of defence.

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“Mentally I think it’s getting a lot better for us rather than just sitting at home in the summer, not knowing what is going to happen. I think getting together and doing this again is a lot better,” Vance said.

“Obviously it’s a little bit different than usual, but we are trying to keep the mood light, practices light,” added Emily Upgang, a fifth-year forward. “We are training and practising, doing what we can to stay in shape, and stay ready if there is a season.”

Fifth-year forward Bailee Bourassa said she received a good piece of advice during the pre-season.

“It’s when you’re not feeling motivated, don’t think of it as a motivation piece, think of it as being dedicated to your sport. So for us being out here, doing on-ice training, off-ice training it’s all dedication stuff.”

And one of the rookies, in particular, that is dedicating her attention to learning from a vet is rookie goaltender Colby Wilson, who is listening and not talking when Vance is trying to help the first-year player along.

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“Yeah she is just doing good, and she is so skilled at what she does,” Wilson said. “And she definitely is intimidating, like she knows her stuff, and she knows what she is doing. It was a little scary at first, but I’m starting to warm up to her, and she talks to me a lot, and she is super nice.”

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“For my experience being younger, I always watched the older girls and learned from them,” Vance said. “So I think it’s pretty cool for me to be in the older role. It will make me be a better goalie too, trying to teach her what I do and things like that.”

The Huskies, young and the slightly older, are hoping their season will begin in early January.

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