Modest goals led to top of the league results for an Okotoks rookie sensation.
Mount Royal University forward Breanne Trotter earned the Canada West Rookie of the Year award after leading all first year skaters in scoring during a brilliant introduction to U Sports women’s hockey in 2018-19.
“Some of my goals were really just to play, to be on one of the first four lines,” said Trotter, a 2018 graduate of Holy Trinity Academy. “We had a lot of injuries in the season so I played every game, which was nice.”
The Okotokian made the most of the opportunity as her 20 points (9 goals, 11 assists) in 27 games was tops on the Cougars and fifth overall in Canada West.
“We felt even coming into the program, she would have an opportunity to have an impact on our team and within our conference,” said Cougars head coach Scott Rivett. “She had a tremendous year on and off the ice. She certainly had an ability to have an impact within our roster and on our team on a nightly basis.
“She’s a highly competitive kid who wants to be her best every day and I don’t think anybody enjoys being at the rink more than she does. Her attitude was infectious within our entire group.”
Breanne credited older sister and third-year Cougars blueliner Cassidy Trotter with getting her ready for U Sports hockey after graduating from the Rocky Mountain Raiders program last fall.
“The biggest (adjustment) was probably the speed, there are so many good girls, they make such fast decisions and you have to be ready at all times,” Trotter said. “I couldn’t have done it without (Cassidy), she always pushes me to be my best and she’s always there for me whenever I need her.”
Trotter, a multisport athlete at the junior level in lacrosse and basketball in high school, didn’t show any signs of struggle in making the leap from the Alberta Female Hockey League Midget AAA ranks to the national elite in Canada West.
“The first weekend when we were in Regina I scored my first goal in our second game,” she said. “That was a good feeling.”
She’s done all that while managing the grinding schedule of a student-athlete, in pursuit of the physical education and health program, balancing the high wire act of studies and sport while finding time to volunteer.
“It’s tough, but any spare moment I have I try to have my books open,” she said. “My coach always gives me tips on when to study. He wants you to be successful no matter what you do, so he pushes you to be your best in all practices, work outs everything.”
The volunteering piece is through the HEROS hockey program, a national organization that brings the game to at-risk youth across the country.
“I go and help kids with Down syndrome and autism go and learn to play hockey,” she said. “We just go on the ice, we don’t really teach them, just skate with them. They don’t get to do that anywhere else and it’s nice that they get to come out and just be themselves without anyone judging them.
“I enjoy seeing the smiles on their faces, they just enjoy it so much. It just brightens up my whole week.”