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N.S. hockey player leads Wisconsin team to NCAA championship

Wisconsin Badgers co-captain Brette Pettet celebrates the team's NCAA championship win on Saturday, March 20. Brette Pettet/Instagram

Nova Scotia’s Brette Pettet has captained the Wisconsin Badgers to the 2021 NCAA women’s hockey championship.

The Badgers defeated the top-ranked Northeastern Huskies 2-1 in overtime Saturday night in Erie, Pa., making it Pettet’s second national title.

“It’s great waking up and realizing that everything’s real and you’re in this moment and you did it with your best friends. I’m excited to see what the next couple of days have in store for sure,” Pettet told Global News Sunday afternoon.

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Pettet, 22, was named co-captain of the team in November.

She finished the regular season third on the Badgers in scoring, potting 11 goals and adding 9 assists in 20 games.

Read more: Nova Scotia female hockey star follows in Sidney Crosby’s footsteps

She says the support she’s received from her home province during this tournament, especially among young female players, has been overwhelming.

“Before the game, the amount of people from home that have reached out to me and especially after the game too, it’s insane,” she said.

“It kind of makes you realize sometimes how many people are behind you that maybe you don’t even realize from day to day.”

The Kentville, N.S., native grew up playing hockey with the Acadia Minor Hockey Association and attended Shattuck-St. Mary’s School in Faribault, Minn., at the age of 12. That’s the same boarding school Nova Scotia hockey legends Sidney Crosby and Nathan MacKinnon attended.

She went on to represent Nova Scotia at the 2015 Canada Games and played on Team Canada at the 2017 IIHF under-18 women’s world championship.

Click to play video: 'Valley’s female hockey star heads to Czech Republic' Valley’s female hockey star heads to Czech Republic
Valley’s female hockey star heads to Czech Republic – Dec 20, 2016

The rising star caught the eye of the local hockey community at an early age, and she hopes her success will inspire others.

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“I was that young female player at one time and I looked up to players like Blayre Turnbull, who came to Wisconsin. To now be in that position and have younger girls look up to me is an honour and I think it’s something that I’m trying to do my best with,” she said.

“I want to set a good example for those girls and show them that it doesn’t matter where you come from or how small your town may be, that it’s possible if you keep working hard.”

Pettet is also aware the experiences of female athletes is not always positive.

The NCAA came under fire last Thursday after photos posted on social media showed the differences between men’s and women’s workout equipment at the basketball tournaments in San Antonio.

Read more: NCAA ‘actively working’ to fix difference between men’s, women’s gyms at tournaments after outcry

A statement from the NCAA’s vice-president Lynn Holzman said the NCAA was “actively working” on improving the women’s facilities, including updating the exercise facilities and food.

“I think just seeing that and having (the photos) go viral over social media and stuff like that, it’s good because it needs to be brought to the attention of a lot of people and I’m hoping that the situation is bringing awareness to this matter,” she said.

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