Few Canadian university student-athletes have had a more successful reign than Kristen Hagg.
During her five-year career with the University of Alberta Pandas hockey program from 2001 to 2006, the Edmonton native was a member of five Canada West and four CIS national championship teams. The program was dominant, winning 156 of 165 conference and postseason games during that period.
“There was also just a good collection of incredibly competitive players. We would just push each other to get better in practice all the time and it’s a standard of excellence that was set,” Hagg said.
“That crew helped bring women’s hockey at the university to where it is because I think at that time there were many teams that were trying emulate what they saw on the ice,” Pandas head coach Howie Draper said.
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Hagg enjoyed plenty of individual success as well. She was a three-time Canada West all-star, the 2006 Canada West Player of the Year and a CIS All-Canadian. In her final season, she led the conference with 33 points in 20 games. The Strathcona High School grad tallied 182 career points — which puts her third in Canada West history.
“She was always skilled, she was a great skater, she was very well conditioned, she had that determination that never seemed to quit,” Draper said. “She just brought that energy that was so important for helping lay the foundation of our program.”
All of Hagg’s accomplishments have culminated in her being nominated as one of five 2021 University of Alberta Sports Wall of Fame inductees.
“It’s a little bit surreal, I guess, to actually be one of those athletes now,” Hagg said.
“University of Alberta athletics to me is really special and to kind of be a part of that history is just one of the greatest honours I could imagine.”
“I can’t think of any player that would deserve it more,” Draper said.
“It’s just great to see people, athletes, builders like her receiving these kinds of accolades.”
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Hagg is now a successful lawyer in Calgary. She said she learned many lessons and developed attributes as a Panda that have helped in her career, although she has joked she does not win as often in the courtroom as she did on the ice.
“It’s good to have a little bit of a competitive edge in this industry but at the same time my experience with lots of winning and winning all the time doesn’t match up perfectly for being a litigator because the fact of the matter is, you don’t win all the time,” Hagg said.
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Hagg has remained in contact with the Pandas hockey program. During the cancelled 2020-2021, she spoke to the current team about her experiences and shared some wisdom.
“When I was still in Edmonton, I was pretty heavily involved in the alumni society. Since coming to Calgary, it’s been a little bit more challenging, but I’ve definitely stayed connected,” she said.
“It’s one thing for me to stand up in front of our group and say, ‘We need you to do this, and this is what our program is about, these are our expectations.’ It’s another thing to have one of your players or one of your alumni, when they move on, model these amazing things that they can do,” Draper said.
Hagg has certainly earned her place in University of Alberta athletics history and now her accomplishments will endure on the school’s Sports Wall of Fame.