© Submitted photo
Kristen Cooze of the Mount Allison Mounties varsity women's hockey team, with the help of her brother Christopher, built a rink in the backyard while home for the holidays.
KIPPENS — Kristen Cooze looks forward to sharing good food and conversation with family around the holidays, but by no means does she allow herself to become complacent.
The fourth-year defenceman with the Mount Allison Mounties varsity female hockey team in the Atlantic University Sport is home for the holidays, but she’s not being denied an opportunity to shoot around a puck while on break from a hectic student-athlete life at Mount Allison.
When she had trouble securing goalies for some ice-time at the Stephenville Dome for herself and younger sibling Christopher Cooze — home for the holidays from Memorial University of Newfoundland — the 21-year-old decided it was time to go back to her childhood.
She always had a rink built by her parents when she was growing up, so she decided to build her first rink with the help of her brother.
If all goes well, in other words if Mother Nature keeps it nice and cold over the next few days, she could be hitting stride on her new digs as early as Tuesday.
“It’s coming along.
“It’s getting flatter now. It was bumpy at first,” she said with a light chuckle.
“We’re almost done we’re hoping to be on it Monday or Tuesday,” she said.
“We wanted to make one for a week so we could enjoy it.”
On the ice with the Mounties, Cooze has continued to be a leader on the blue line with one goal and four assists in 13 games as the Mounties head into the Christmas break tied with the University of Prince Edward Panthers for fourth spot in the seven-team league with identical records of five wins and eight losses.
Cooze said the team hit a rough patch in the first half where the team lost six games in a row, but they managed to string two wins together before the break to move into a tie for fourth.
Going through the losing streak was an eye opener for the girls, according to Cooze, who has settled into her defensive role with the team but still has her moments where she would like to be up front creating some offence.
“We learned that you have to work hard every shift of every game or you won’t get the outcome you want,” she said. “You can’t just give half an effort and expect to win.”
As long as she’s playing the game she loves, the role she is asked to play is immaterial to her. She knows she has some work to do to help the team move up the standings in the second half, but she’s ready for the challenge as one of the seasoned veterans wearing the Mounties jersey.
“I need to skate the puck up the ice more to get the puck out of our own quicker and create more offence,” she said.
“We have good offence once we get in the offensive end, but we have trouble getting it out of our end so that’s something I want to work on.”
Cooze hopes she can continue being a leader on the ice so the Mounties can earn a playoff berth.
It’s not like she’s never proved her leadership ability, after all, last season she was the recipient of the Joey Drover Leadership Award — an award presented annually to a returning Mounties student-athlete who shows a combination of leadership, commitment to team, academics and athletic ability, and who represents all of the positive attributes of the Mount Allison family.
For now, she just wants to shoot pucks in her backyard until it’s time to head back to life as a Mountie.