This year's Dinos women's hockey team is looking at more change than a condom dispenser in rez. Last year's assistant coach, Dean Holden, has taken over the head coach position and is excited about the upcoming year. With only nine returning players and a greater commitment to off-ice training, it's going to be a whole new team out there.
Third-year vet Christina DeSouza has moved up to the forward line where her lightning-speed and aggressiveness will be a serious threat to the opposition. Returning to the forward line for another season are Jen Mansell, Averil Parent, Stephanie Fairfield and Beth Nerland, who was second in scoring on last year's team.
"Beth is all over the ice," said Holden. "She is just outstanding this year."
Standing up on the blue line for the Dinos will be Natasha Wells and Candace Drouin--both of whom had solid seasons last year--as well as Allison Mansell and Robyn Chapman, who drop back from last year's forward line.
The team isn't lacking experience and talent with its new recruits either. Jen Cabana and Natalie Gerstmar both played for the two-time Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference champions, Mount Royal College, last year.
Cabana is showing tremendous leadership on the forward line while Gerstmar, with a 1.97 goals against average, was the number two goalie in the league and a First-Team All-Star last year. Also in net for the Dinos is Katie Urness, who had a 90 per cent save average in the Calgary midget AA league last year.
Regular season play doesn't start until the end of October, so the team has a lot of time to get their game together.
"We are working on lots of individual skills right now and as a team we are showing improvement every day," Holden declared.
The Dinos fell to SAIT 7-1 Thu., Sept. 22 and 4-1 Sat., Sept. 24 in pre-season action, but are confident they will catch up to the competition in the weeks to come.
The Dinos host the MRC Cougars Thu., Sept. 29 at the Olympic Oval. Game time is 8 p.m.