The Female Mustangs got some holiday game time with sisterly guidance thanks to some visiting players home for the Christmas break.
The Whitehorse rep team took part in three alumni games against past Mustangs players on Saturday, Sunday and Monday, at the Canada Games Centre.
About a dozen alumni, many of whom went on to play at the post-secondary and junior level after the Mustangs, took part in the games.
“It was fun to see the older girls play and it was good to see our girls elevate their games to be able to play them in a tight game,” said Mustangs head coach Louis Bouchard.
“Some of these girls – (Tamara) Greek, (Linsey) Eby, (Ashtyn) Sandulak – are playing junior hockey. (Lynsey) Keaton, (Chantal) Rivest played university hockey. So it was fast hockey and it was good for us getting ready for Canada Games. Hopefully we can do this every year.”
Saturday’s game went 5-1 in favour of the alumni squad. Sunday finished at 9-4 for the Mustangs with four goals from captain Sierra Oakley. Monday’s game ended 3-1 for the alumni.
“It went well. The first two games, I thought we had a better series; we played better,” said Bouchard. “Today, I don’t think we came out with our best game.”
As for Sunday’s win, “If they played like that the whole season, we’d kill every team we play,” he added.
In addition to representing Whitehorse, the rep team will swap their Mustangs jerseys for Team Yukon ones come the Canada Winter Games this February in Prince George, B.C.
Many of the visiting alumni played for Yukon at the 2007 and 2011 Canada Games. Hearing their stories about those Games has helped prepare current players for the task next month, said Mustangs defenceman Sophie Janke.
“Some of them went to the Canada Winter Games in 2007 and 2011, so some of them told us their stories,” said Janke. “We see how they play and they’re really good to compare ourselves to because our competition at the Canada Winter Games will be the same thing.”
Before joining the Whitehorse rep organization in 2011, the Mustangs were the Northern Avalanche.
Bouchard’s daughter Alex, who played in the alumni games, was instrumental in creating the team.
“I went to the Canada Winter Games in 2007 and after 2007 my team kind of split up and nobody wanted to play any more, so I decided to start with the younger girls,” said Alex. “Some of the girls who were on the ice today, I taught how to skate and got them started. When I went to university my dad took over.”
“We loved it,” she added about the weekend. “It was really nice to come back and play the girls most of us have played with or watched growing up. They have our colours, are repping for the girls, and playing against the guys and winning.”
Of course, with more experience under their belts, many of the alumni had pearls of wisdom to pass down to the current Mustangs players, even if it meant being a little rougher around the boards.
“It was funny. We’d be in the boards and we’d tell them to push us harder, or to take a shot. It was really fun,” said Alex. “We’ve talked to them and they know what to expect for Canada Games, so I think they’ll do really well.”
“I think we started communicating better on the ice,” said Janke. “One thing they do a lot is talk all the time. Our players are more shy, but when we saw that they were talking and yelling on the ice, we started doing that too.”
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