For generations, Saskatchewan has been known as a hockey hotbed responsible for exporting hundreds of dynamic players.
Today, another young woman joins this elite list as Prince Albert Northern Bears blueliner Paige Dawson heads to the Maryville University in St. Louis, Missouri, to lace up her skates for the Maryville Saints Women’s hockey team.
Dawson had a good selection of schools to pick from, but said Maryville was the best fit.
“Maryville just stuck out to me,” she explained. “I know a few girls on that team, so I’ve gotten feedback from them as well.”
Two of these players are the goaltending tandem of Kaitlyn Cadrain, a Prince Albert product who played for the Saskatoon Stars, and Sawyer Duncan, an alumnus of the Notre Dame Hounds and Fort Saskatchewan Fury hailing from St. Albert, Alberta.
Saints’ head coach Tommy Lange was super impressed with Dawson’s leadership skills on and off the ice, which led the school to offer her a spot on the team.
“She’s a great all-around player,” said Lange. “She’s steady on the back end, controls the ice, is good on her angles, and not afraid to push the pace.
“It’s one of those things where she’s not too flashy, but she’s actually doing everything on the ice that needs to be done.”
Dawson said the decision to move to Maryville took a lot of thought, primarily because it was so far from Prince Albert.
“I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go that far (away from home), but when you see the school—and we have our own rink and dressing room—it’s pretty much all worth it,” she explained.
“The atmosphere there seems very welcoming, and the people seem awesome. I just decided that seemed like the right thing, so I’ll just have to move that far away for hockey.”
Certainly, Coach Lange looks forward to Dawson’s arrival, especially after the forced break due to the pandemic. Maryville only started competing in women’s hockey three years ago, but only completed two due to COVID.
“We’ve got leadership coming in with Paige,” he explained. “It comes from being a captain and player on (the Prince Albert Northern Bears). As well, we’re looking for off-ice characteristics also that comes to the table to help grow our program.
Dawson said she and other female university hockey players can set a strong example for the next generation. She advised young female hockey players to work hard and have fun.
“There are a whole bunch of opportunities for everybody, even if you don’t want to move as far away as I am,” she said. “I think the more women who go to University hockey will encourage younger athletes and soon we’ll have as many women athletes going to university as men, right?
“Women’s hockey is very biased, and we’re not as appreciated as much as we should be, so by encouraging younger athletes to pursue hockey further, I think it will inspire many, many generations, and I think we need to keep doing that.”