Friday, 13 July 2018

Solid U SPORTS Team

If you missed out on the many opportunities to see the University of Manitoba Bisons women's hockey team last season, you missed out on seeing Alanna Sharman live. Sharman was one of the engines that drove the Bisons all the way to London, Ontario where they won the U SPORTS National Championship, and now Alanna will head to Calgary this summer for the Hockey Canada Summer Showcase from August 2-11. She's a leader and playmaker, and she put those talents on display in London where Hockey Canada's Melody Davidson was in attendance, and Alanna clearly did enough to impress Davidson to garner an invitation alongside 19 other U SPORTS players who legitimately can be called "the best of the best".

It's the third-straight year that Bisons players will go to the Summer Showcase. This year's U SPORTS squad will get to play the two squads from Hockey Canada National Women's Development Team as well as Japan's National Women's Team. This will be Sharman's second invitation to the Summer Showcase after she was named to the inaugural U SPORTS squad that played at the showcase in 2016.

"I'm super excited to be heading out to Calgary," Sharman told John Gaudes of Bisons Sports. "I'm looking forward to playing with and against some of the top Canadian athletes. Hopefully it'll be an opportunity to learn and have some fun as well."

Her teammates are a collection of impressive players, the majority of whom played in London at the U SPORTS National Championship this past March. Among the players that Sharman played against in London, the Concordia Stingers are sending four players including goaltender Katherine Purchase, defender Marie-Joëlle Allard, and forwards Audrey Belzile and and Claudia Dubois. Western University, who Manitoba defeated in the final, is sending one player in forward April Clark. In total, 11 of the 20 players representing the U SPORTS team played in March's National Championship tournament.

The roster is as follows:
  • G Katherine Purchase - Concordia
  • G Maude Trevisan - Montreal
  • D Marie-Joëlle Allard - Concordia
  • D Cayle Dillon - Alberta
  • D Lindsey Donovan - St. Francis-Xavier
  • D Cassidy Herman - Ottawa
  • D Celine Tardif - UBC
  • D Alex Woods - St. Thomas
  • F Audrey Belzile - Concordia
  • F Mélodie Bouchard - Ottawa
  • F Sarah Bujold - St. Francis-Xavier
  • F April Clark - Western
  • F Maria Dominico - Nipissing
  • F Jade Downie-Landry - McGill
  • F Catherine Dubois - Montreal
  • F Claudia Dubois - Concordia
  • F Ailish Forfar - Ryerson
  • F Alex Poznikoff - Alberta
  • F Alanna Sharman - Manitoba
  • F Kaitlin Willoughby - Saskatchewan
The squad will be coached by Stacey Colarossi from Laurentian, and she'll have Moncton's Marc-André Côté, Ottawa's Greg Bowles, and Mount Allison's Terry Rhindress helping her as her assistant coaches. That's a solid staff, and they'll have a talented squad to work with having seen a number of these women in living colour. Can they improve on their 2-2 record from last year's showcase? It's possible, but these women have to come together quickly.

Katherine Purchase's performance for Concordia at the U SPORTS National Championship has me convinced that she'll provide impeccable goaltending for this squad. Allard, Dillon, and Tardif are all medal-winners at the U SPORTS National Championship over the last two seasons, and all have incredibly high hockey IQs. Belzile, Bujold, Clark, Dubois, Dubois, Poznikoff, Sharman, and Willoughby all posses incredible speed and skill, and this U SPORTS team will fly if the coaching staff lets them skate. I expect this all-star squad, with the talent assembled, to at least replicate that 2-2 record from last year.

Congratulations to Alanna Sharman on her invitation as she definitely was one of Canada's best university players last season!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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