With this being her first year hitting the ice with the Huskies women’s hockey team, Brooke Patron is experiencing more than her share of the usual pre-season jitters. Rather than letting nerves get the best of her, Patron is using them as motivation to play even better than she has before. She is ready to put her skills to the test.
“Definitely you’re nervous, that’s for sure. But it’s good to be back on the ice. It feels good to have the expectation of yourself to step up and really prove yourself,” she said.
Patron, who will be playing defence for the Huskies, is familiar with the stresses involved with high calibre hockey. She had previously laced up her skates for the Midget AAA Weyburn Southern Range Gold Wings and she’s ready to be pushed even harder on the ice this year.
Patron said she is looking forward to “A higher paced game, more competitive girls and just upping my skill and getting the full experience of being a Huskie.”
With the hockey season fast approaching, the Huskies have been hard at work getting ready for their first game. During the past few weeks of practice Patron has been learning from the more experienced players around her.
“I look up to the girls and I watch them practice. They are good examples and good leaders,” she said.
Patron is optimistic about the upcoming season and believes the Huskies could be a formidable team as they bond and get to know each other better. The squad aims to improve upon last year’s Canada West quarter final loss to the Alberta Pandas.
“I think at first it’s going to take a little bit of time to mesh and to really get to know each other on the ice,” she said. “But there’s always that chance [to win a championship] and we have a good one this year.”
For her rookie season Patron does not want to be sitting on the sidelines watching; she wants to be right in the middle of the action and solidify herself as an integral part of the team’s success.
Patron feels that it’s pivotal that she “focus on being a leader as much as I can as a rookie and helping the team achieve, hopefully, a championship,” she said.
Growing up in a hockey household in Redvers, Saskatchewan, it was natural for Patron to be attracted to the sport. She started playing at age six and hasn’t put down her stick yet.
“I grew up with two older brothers who played hockey so there wasn’t much of a choice,” she said.
When it came time to make the transition to university hockey, there was never a question in Patron’s mind that playing for the Huskies was the right choice.
“Steve [Kook] asked me to come up and check out the school. I was sold from there,” she said.
Patron was drawn to the Huskie hockey program, the city itself and the chance to be closer to her two older brothers who are also currently living in Saskatoon.
Unlike many other athletes, Patron doesn’t have any superstitions but instead chooses to focus on what she is able to control.
“Keep your head in the game. Prepare your mind before the game. Go out there and give it your all,” she said.
Patron’s first chance to give it her all will come when the Huskies take on the University of Lethbridge Pronghorns on Sept. 7 in Swift Current.
Photo: Jordan Dumba/Photo Editor