Iwanicka Announces 2019-20 Windsor Lancer Recruiting Class
The women’s hockey program showed tremendous potential throughout the 2018-19 season and, despite finishing in last place, won three games and lost ten within one goal (excluding late empty nets), showing just how much parity there is within the OUA. The blue & gold had two strong contests against the eventual U SPORTS champion Guelph Gryphons, falling by only a combined three goals in their two contests. These results were produced by a team with nine first year players, all of whom were in the line up regularly, along with an additional three new players (transfers) and an entirely new staff that included coaches and personnel.
Moving into next season, the team is looking to increase the number in the win column. By 2020 the program’s goal is to be a playoff competitor, which is a feat in itself in a conference where only 61.5% of the teams make playoffs (compared to men’s OUA hockey where 84% of the teams make playoffs).
How is the team going to accomplish this? Well one answer is personnel, with eleven student- athletes joining the Lancers in the upcoming season.
First with the back end: Megan Bates, Daralan Ditto, Carly Hennessey, Caitlin White. Megan Bates is a graduate from the PWHL Bluewater Hawks. Megan spent last season as an anchor on defense and helping out on forward as needed. Coach Iwanicka is looking forward to her development as she sees unique potential in Megan’s ability to skate, handle the puck and keep her head up – all together.
Daralan Ditto, from Vulcan Alberta and a graduate of the Banff Hockey Academy (CSSHL) is expected to step in and add to the team’s defensive play. Iwanicka says she is a heads up player who can move the puck to the right places.
Next, Carly Hennessey, a graduate of HTI academy. Carly is expected to add to the team’s physical presence on the ice, along with offense from the back end. Iwanicka hopes she can complement the strength of returning players. And, Caitlin White from Prince George British Columbia. Caitlin has succeeded as a team leader both on and off the ice for the Northern Capitals (BC Midget AAA) over the past three seasons and both she and Deanna are excited to see those skills transfer into the Lancer program.
Moving up the bench to the forwards, there is a very diverse set of new skills joining the Lancers. Iwanicka is expecting the team’s overall goals for to increase with the addition of Hannah Finlayson from the Bluewater Sharks (PWHL), Kendi Lundell from the Calgary Fire (AFHL Midget AAA), and Tori Chenier from the Olds Broncos (ACAC). All three athletes finished the 2018/19 season in the top two scoring position on their respective teams.
Another priority for the team in 2019 was the addition of speed, which Coach Iwanicka is confident will come from DeWolf-Russ a local athlete graduating from the Windsor Wildcats program, and Zoey Westervelt a graduate of the Barrie Sharks.
To round things out, with good foundational skills, above average levels of determination and a sense for the game, is Darcee Hall and Maggie Peterson. Both players are coming to Windsor from Alberta, Darcee from southern Alberta (Delia) and Maggie from northern Alberta (Edmonton), graduates from the Red Deer Chiefs (AFHL Midget AAA) and Northern Alberta Xtreme (CSSHL) respectively.
“It’s about future potential,” says Coach Iwanicka when asked about recruiting the right players for the program, “we expect to see an overall improvement to start our season, but that is all it should be, our starting point.”
“The staff worked hard to bring in the best possible players, from across the country,” Iwanicka continued. These efforts are reflected in the where these Lancers are coming from: British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, Midget AAA, PWHL, Academies. There were no boundaries when it came to finding what we needed and getting the best players for our program.”
Training camp opens in September and will include open tryouts which has already seen some very good prospective athletes that have expressed an interest in attending.
“I am excited about what I see in the women’s hockey team,” says director of athletics Mike Havey. “Coach Iwanicka and the staff have worked hard to put together a roster full of potential. With the requisite addition of commitment to hard work, training and everyday improvement, I expect this team to begin climbing up the OUA table.”
With the additions of these tremendous recruits, and the greater core and foundation of the 2018-19 roster returning, including all three goaltenders, Amy & Ashley Maitre on defense, and Jessica Gribbon and Alix Reiter up front, the future is bright for the Lancer women’s hockey program.