It’s a rebuilding year for the West Kildonan Collegiate Wolverines in the Winnipeg Women’s High School Hockey League (WWHSHL), but the team is making the best of it.
Bumped down to the Winnipeg Free Press B Division after spending three seasons in the CTV A Division, as of Dec. 20 the team was sporting a 7-5 record.
"The girls are doing really well. They’ve improved so much, and we’re very competitive in our league," said Wolverines head coach Jennifer Jonsson.
"I’d say they’re working hard. They’re shooting the puck, and they’re playing as a team."
While the Wolverines aren’t a very experienced squad, Jonsson said a few key veterans are leading the way.
"We have our seniors who are really carrying the team with their leadership," she said. "Brittney Driedger, she’s playing really well. She’s shooting the puck a lot. I think she’s sixth in our league for points (18 points through 11 games).
"Destyni Chiborak has been racking up the points (17 goals and 23 points), as well as Mackenzie Neapew (10 points)."
Driedger, a Grade 11 student, only started playing hockey in Grade 9, opting for ringette prior to that.
"She’s really picked up her hands and is shooting the puck really well. She’s stepped up her game in regards to hockey," Jonsson said of Driedger.
"The ringette players are fast skaters, but they have a hard time handling the puck, and she’s really improved there."
Wolverines defenceman and team captain Amanda Cabral is also impressed with Driedger’s play with the puck.
"She’s improved so much since last year, it’s really impressive," Cabral said. "(She’s improved) her shot and her competitiveness. I think she’s gotten a lot more confident as a player, and it’s showing tremendously."
Cabral, who also comes from ringette and started playing hockey in Grade 9, said another reason the Wolverines are doing well is because the team has five coaches.
"It’s a lot of one-on-one work, which helps a lot. It’s very beneficial, especially in practices, plus the mental aspects during a game," Cabral said.
The girls are also improving their game off the ice, training regularly at NRG Fitness (1717 Dublin Ave.) with Scott Miller.
"He does a three-station thing where he has them lifting weights or exercising and then there’s a rapid shot station and then a stickhandling station," Jonsson said. "I think it’s really helping out our ringette players with their hands."
There’s still room for improvement, as Jonsson said the Wolverines need to tighten up in the defensive end. However, the team has a goaltender capable of bailing out any defensive blunders.
"We have Sammy Bruce-Kriebel," Jonsson said. "She actually goes to school at Garden City, but we were able to have her this year. She’s doing very well. She’s a very quick, agile goalie, and her commitment to the team is outstanding."
Keep track of the Wolverines at wwhshl.goalline.ca