When you start out as a rookie, playing time can vary, often being hard to come by. Megan LeBlanc, a first-year forward on the NAIT Ooks women’s hockey team, started the season as a regular player.
“First year of college, a lot of us are straight out of high school. So obviously a lot of big changes,” said LeBlanc about starting on the team.
Sheldon Hausch of the Ooks men’s basketball team, started this year on the bench.
“I was going to be a red shirt so I was just supposed to practise with them,” said Hausch. It wasn’t long before he moved up from being a red shirt to actually playing in games.
“This semester, coach said that I’m going to be part of the team. So my expectations kind of changed, I guess.
“It was a little nerve wracking at first. Straight out of high school. It was my first couple of actual college games but coach is supportive. The players, my teammates, they helped me.”
Forward Brady MacKay, in his last semester with the Ooks, talked about how the first-year players are adjusting to the team.
“They’re doing a pretty good job filling in the roles for how young they are. I mean Sheldon is still in his first year but he’s making a big impact coming off the bench. I think he’s doing a good job in the role he’s in right now and he’s only going to get better with time. Coach helping him along the way and then me, while I’m still here.” Both MacKay and Kaitlyn Whaley are in their fifth year playing for their teams. Added to their list of responsibilities is acting as a mentor to the junior players. For the women’s hockey team, a scheduled mentorship within the team is set up.
“At the end of every season, Deanna sets up a mentor-mentee group over the summer. So one of the returning veterans mentors one of the first-year players coming in,” explained Whaley. “This year was a little bit different. I was kind of one of the mentors-mentor. So I kind of answered any questions that the mentors had.”
“I thought it was great,” said LeBlanc about the mentorship. “Having that person you can text and ask any questions you have or talk to about anything.”
The basketball team has a more independent style of mentorship. MacKay says that the players are more inclined to do more for themselves. When a teammate does need some guidance, MacKay is more than willing to help.
“I’m here if they need or if they have any questions or have any advice. I’ll pass stuff on, things that I’ve learned throughout university and class balancing,” said MacKay.
Both senior players have taken their mentoring position seriously. They offer thoughtful advice, not only about the game, but also about their schoolwork.
“Continue working hard and kind of just believing in the process,” said Whaley. “I know that’s part of our motto right now: Believe the process, achieve the outcome.”
– Nikita Ganovicheff