Sports

Alberni’s Savard wins NAIT rookie puck honours

Brittney Savard in action during a game with her hockey team at Northern Alberta Institute of Technology.  - SUBMITTED PHOTO
Brittney Savard in action during a game with her hockey team at Northern Alberta Institute of Technology.
— image credit: SUBMITTED PHOTO

A former Port Alberni hockey player was recently recognized for her achievements in collegiate hockey at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology in Edmonton.

On March 4, the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference announced the selection of Brittney Savard as Rookie of the Year for the 2016-17 season. Savard started her hockey career in Port Alberni and now plays on the NAIT Ooks Women’s Hockey team. She said she was honoured with the award and intends to use her skills for her future goals.

Savard first laced her hockey skates at the age of four when she played with her older sister, Nicolette.

“I wanted to be just like her,” Savard said.

For the first few years, she played with the boys on house teams and when rep teams became available at the atom level, she tried out and made the team.

“I was pleasantly surprised and I think that’s when my love for the game was born,” she said. “Since being the only girl (with the exception of having the opportunity to play with Shay-Lee McConnell for a few years) on an all-boys team wasn’t easy, especially when I reached bantam level and the boys started to get bigger and stronger, I decided to try girls hockey.”

In her second year of bantam, she played on both boys’ and girls’ house teams.

“I fell in love with the atmosphere of feeling unbreakable bonds with my girl teammates and being more of a part of the team when I started playing on girls’ teams,” Savard said.

In her first year of midget, Savard made the North Island Impact A team and was made assistant captain. The following year she played for the Impact and was an affiliated player for the Vancouver Island Hurricanes (now Seals) AAA team. In her final year, she decided to go with the Seals full-time and ended the season as the team’s leading scorer.

Savard graduated from Alberni District Secondary School (ADSS) in June 2016 and took the summer off to prepare for her move to post-secondary education at NAIT, for which she received a scholarship. She currently maintains a 4.0 GPA in the Personal Fitness Training Program.

“I decided the Personal Fitness Training Program was the best-suited career path for me because it is incredibly important to me to help people reach their goals,” she said. “That something I’ve always been interested in since I was little. My ultimate goal is to eventually either own my own gym company or to move forward and go more in-depth with athletic therapy and learn more about sports medicine and rehabilitation.”

Balancing school work, hockey, additional classes, volunteering, and a social life is something Savard said she does with her learned time management and prioritizing skills. Her selection as Rookie of the Year was based on those criteria, but particularly on a player’s overall performance.

After this semester, Savard intends to return home to Port Alberni to work and begin her off-season training to prepare for the upcoming season.

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