PGHA grads Fiona Lester and Taryn Pilon with Queen's and Erin McColm on Brock play on home ice
Three former Ice Kats gave young girls something to aspire to while being inspired themselves Saturday.
Peterborough Girls Hockey Association's Ice Kats Day was highlighted by an OUA women's exhibition game between Queen's Gaels and Brock Badgers at the Evinrude Centre.
More than 500 spectators, many young Ice Kats, turned out for the game which featured PGHA grads Fiona Lester and Taryn Pilon with Queen's and Erin McColm on Brock.
The intent was to expose girls to a high level of hockey they can aspire to. Their role models said they were excited by the turnout.
“We're not used to big crowds like this since our arena is off campus,” said Pilon, who gave the crowd something to cheer about when she scored, with Lester assisting, to tie it 1-1 in the second period. Queen's scored four third period goals in a 5-1 win. McColm was not officially credited with an assist but her pass helped set up Brock's goal by Kailey Peirson.
“It's been a while since I've played in Peterborough,” Lester said, “so it was pretty exciting. We had a much bigger crowd than we have at most of our games.”
“I was surprised,” McColm said, “to see how many people came out to support us. It was great because I recognized so many faces.”
Pilon returns to a team which lost in the OUA final last year. After starring at Laurier for four years, Lester, who took last year off school and didn't play hockey because of injury, is playing her final year of eligibility on a new team after transferring for graduate studies in biological statistics.
“It's pretty exciting to be back in the OUA,” said Lester. “I'm having a great time with Queen's.”
It's a reunion with Pilon.
“Fiona and I played together when we were seven years old here in Peterborough,” Pilon said. “We kind of have that chemistry. We seem to click on the ice.”
McColm made Brock last year as a walk-on. She hopes it shows young players the opportunity may also be available to them “As long as you work hard and are determined.”
It was a full day of hockey for the PGHA as 12 of their 13 rep teams play at the Evinrude and novice and atom house league teams played between periods of the OUA game.
“Last year we did Ice Kats Day for the first time,” said PGHA president Carole Wagner. “This is the first year we've incorporated a university game. Girls were encouraged to come to watch this and donate food to Kawartha Food Share. There are lots of people here enjoying the game. It's a great chance for the girls to see higher calibre hockey.”
She was pleased by the generosity of fans who donated non-perishable food items rather than an admission fee.
“We have three bins out front and all three are overflowing. That's great,” Wagner said. “We'll probably try to do it again. We don't typically have ice this weekend so we had to purchase it from the AAA boys. They were very kind to give us their ice.”
Also scoring for Queen's was Courtney Jacklin with two, Clare McKellar and Shawn Griffin.
For more photos and original story see Peterborough Examiner.
Photo credits Clifford Skarstedt/Peterborough Examiner/QMI Agency