Brittney Savard is in her second year with the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) Ooks, and has achieved high academic standing. PHOTO COURTESY OF NAIT

Brittney Savard’s at the top of her class—on and off the ice

Alberni hockey player excels at NAIT in Edmonton

Port Alberni hockey player Brittney Savard has been named the Alberta College Athletic Conference’s (ACAC) top scholastic achiever for the 2017-18 women’s hockey program.

Savard is in her second year playing forward for the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) Ooks in Edmonton. She obtained a 3.9 grade point average in the Personal Fitness Trainer program during the first semester this year.

Savard will graduate with her diploma in May, having chosen the more intense two-year track for her program. She has taken five courses per semester as well as playing college hockey full time. She says making a conscious decision to put schoolwork first has guided her year.

“I’m super busy with hockey,” she said during a study break at NAIT. “I’m taking the personal fitness trainer program and there is an option to take it over three years, but I decided to take it in two. I have five courses each semester plus a practicum…it was harder to maintain my grades.”

She never missed a game, practice or training session—but she also made sure to show up in class even if she had been travelling home from a game late the night before.

“Playing hockey was important to me. Coming here, in the end your career is your biggest thing,” she said.

“I put school as my priority…that’s one of the main reasons I’ve been so successful.

“I have to manage my time a lot better. Being aware that sometimes I come home it 2 a.m. if we travel to Calgary, and making sure I’m still attending class. A lot of girls struggle with managing their time and getting assignments done.

“Setting aside time for school is my biggest thing.”

Savard helped lead the NAIT Ooks to a second place regular season finish and was selected to the ACAC all-conference team this year. She finished seventh in league scoring with 15 points. Savard plays right wing, but moved to centre for the playoffs.

The Ooks played third place Red Deer College in the first round of the post-season, but lost in the third game of the best-of-three series. “It was sad because we had a 3–0 lead and in the last period they scored four goals. We put up a pretty good fight.

“We’ll get them next year.”

The all-conference nod is a big deal, says Savard, who earned ACAC rookie of the year honours in her first season with the NAIT Ooks in 2016-17. This year she was named to the second all-conference team, “which is kind of cool.”

“Brittney is a strong leader,” Ooks women’s hockey head coach Deanna Martin said. “She exemplifies Ook values both on and off the ice.”

Savard will return to Port Alberni once her school year is over, and hopes to gain employment as a trainer at one of the local gyms for the summer. She worked as a housekeeper at Sproat Lake Landing last summer and enjoyed the work, so locals and visitors may see her back there as well.

“My convocation is May 4; I’ll be coming home right after then,” she said.

The women’s college hockey season starts again in Alberta at the end of August, so her visit home will be a short one, she added. She wants to return and take a year of open studies while she decides whether she wants to focus next on studying to be an x-ray or ultrasound technician. Either way, hockey will still be part of her plans.

“I have next year to build. If I want to go to a CIS league or university I still have that option.”

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