Prince Albert Northern Bears centre Sophia Zuck has committed to the University of Calgary Dinos.
Zuck has put up 17 points (5G, 12A) in 16 games to lead the Bears in scoring this season. She talked about her decision to head to Calgary next year.
“I’m really excited,” Zuck said. “I worked really hard for this. Every time I stepped on the ice this year I knew I needed to prove myself to get that opportunity. I can’t wait to take my career up a level.”
With COVID-19 throwing a wrench into last season’s plans, it was important for Zuck to play at the high level she’s shown so far. She said it was time to show that she can compete at a high level and put her team in a position to win every game, especially since this is her final year with the Bears.
“With this season being my last, and being put into a leadership role, I really noticed and understood that I have to stand up,” she said. “I knew I had to work hard and get points, and also get out there and help my younger teammates to know what it takes to play at the AAA level. This year I really took on the role as a hard worker.”
Last season was unique in certain ways for the Bears third year player. She sent an NCAA player profile down to teams in the United Stated, but not being able to play hurt her chances of getting on the radar of some teams. She had some coaches and teams reach out to her, as well as some teams in Canada, but didn’t commit to a team in the 2020-21 season.
A lot of factors were involved in Zuck’s decision to join the Calgary Dinos this year. She noted the prestige of the team as one of the biggest things that swayed her choice.
“Carla MacLeod, the head coach, played in the Olympics, and she has a lot of experience behind her, so I really strove for that.”
Staying close to home was also important for her, and having family in Calgary will make the transition easier for Zuck as she moves on to University.
“I wanted to stay in Canada. I take a lot of pride in this country. Calgary’s not super far away from home, so I’m still kind of home based. My aunty and uncle also live in Calgary, so having family there is nice too.”
Zuck will join a Dinos team full of fourth and fifth year veterans, as well as first and second year rookies. She explained the goal she has set for herself in her first year with the team next season.
“I think going into my first season, I just want to put my hard work out there. Of course being a vet this year, I’m going to be starting over as a rookie, so I’m going to have to prove my spot, and show that I’m ready and meant to be there.”
University hockey also means that Zuck will be taking school courses in her time at the University of Calgary. She hopes to get accepted into nursing.