Hard work pays off. Just ask the latest commit to the University of Saskatchewan.
Okotokian and Rocky Mountain Raiders captain Kennedy Brown is taking her trademark tenacity to the next level after committing to the U of S Huskies female hockey program for the 2018-19 season.
“What you see is what you get. The word consistency defines Kennedy Brown,” said Raiders assistant coach Travis Thiessen. “She just never quits, work, work, work. I can’t imagine a coach that doesn’t love a player like that.
“I’ve talked to the head coach and assistant coach there and they are so thrilled she’s coming.”
Brown caught the eye of the Huskies coaching staff at the Esso Cup National Championships in the spring where she and the Raiders took the bronze medal to cap a historic season featuring its first provincial and regional championship banners.
Displaying her dogged determination every night, Brown was a key cog in the Raiders’ run.
“I think it’s just something my parents instilled in me and my brothers,” Brown said of her habits on the ice. “Always giving 100 per cent. No one can get mad at you if you give it 100 per cent and do something wrong.”
She met with coaches on a campus visit in Saskatoon in the summer and was sold on the program from both an academic and athletic standpoint.
Despite being a Grade 11 student, Brown is not eligible to play Midget next season due to her birthday. That made the commitment a priority.
“Going into my Grade 12 year I wanted to know where I would be going. That’s why I committed earlier than usual,” Brown said. “They’re known for having a really good medical program and that’s what I ultimately want to go into. And I really like the coach and his philosophies.
“It was an all around good fit.”
She will have a friendly face in the Huskies dressing room greeting her when she arrives for the 2018-19 season. Raiders teammate Ava Thiessen of DeWinton is just a couple weeks removed from committing to the Huskies for next season.
“That’s always nice to have someone you know when you’re going away like that,” Brown said.
The gritty forward took the advice of university coaches by committing to sharpening her offensive skills in shooting and puck-control during the off-season.
“Her first year as a AAA Raider you got the work ethic, no question about it, but as far as finish it wasn’t really there and maybe panicking with the puck sometimes,” coach Thiessen added. “Last year she was mentoring a little under Nicolette Seper and you have her this year where she’s one of our points leaders.
“You get production out of her plus that always compete attitude she gives.”
Brown first thought of university hockey during her rookie season with the Midget Raiders.
Steady improvement year by year made the dream a reality.
“I always knew that I wanted to keep going with hockey,” she said. “When I got into Midget it secured that I wanted to play CIS hockey. Going into the States was never something that interested me. CIS was always a good fit for me.”