Goyette guides women's hockey squad into new ACAC season

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Physically demanding practices and intense off-ice training is how University of Calgary Dinos women's hockey coach Danielle Goyette plans to prepare her team for Canadian Interuniversity Sport league play as they hope to join in the 2009-10 season.

Until then, the team will enter another season in the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference with a championship title in mind.

"For me, my goal is to push the players harder off the ice for the training," said Goyette. "I want to be able to compete with all the teams over there. This season that's what it's all about, getting to the next level."

The Dinos proved their ability last year as they reached the ACAC finals, but ultimately lost to the Grant MacEwan Griffins three games to one.

This year Goyette and the Dinos plan to go one step further.

"My goal this year is to win the conference," she said. "I always set my goals high because if you're happy to finish third, that's what your going to get."

Goyette-- who enters her second season as head coach-- says that the team's roster problems from last year have been rectified.

"We had a lot of players play defence that were forwards because we didn't have enough defence," she said. "Now I have regular defence and people will be more comfortable on the ice because they will be playing their natural position."

This year's incarnation of the team will have 11 first-year players, but Goyette says that is a promising statistic as they will add a fresh look to the squad.

"The young players on the team are going to bring excitement and they have natural talent and skills, that's what we were missing last year," she said.

To balance out the youthfulness of the first-year players, there will be 13 returning from last year. If the team plans to be a contender in the CIS next year, Goyette says it will be up to the initiated to guide the youth.

"We have 11 players that have never trained [at this level] before, and 13 returning players that know what it takes and know what it is like."

When Goyette joined the Dinos as head coach last season she started the quest to join the CIS Canada West division ­-- with the goal of doing so in three years.

The team is one year into that push, but the strength of third-and fourth-year CIS players is a problem that needs to be addressed, according to Goyette.

"We need to push each other because I want to make sure that when we go to the CIS, we don't go just as a participant," she said.

Like her team, Goyette feels more comfortable in her role as coach this season.

Hiccups and administrative tasks that would slow her down last year come and go with ease.

"I'm more comfortable because I know what I have to do with rules and how the league works," she said. "Last year was new for me. It was kind of hard."