The University of Calgary women's hockey team suffered two of the worst defeats in their young history last weekend, losing 11-1 to the University of Alberta Pandas on Oct. 13 in their season opener and 8-1 the subsequent evening.
Led by second-year forward Stacy Sorensen, who scored both Calgary goals, the young Dinos put forth a valiant effort but looked nervous and inexperienced compared to their northern rivals.
"We only have two or three members back from last year's squad," explained Head Coach Kathy Berg. "I think [these games] were a good indication we've got a lot of work to do. These were two tough games to start the year."
The results were a dramatic turnaround from last year, when the Dinos finished with an impressive 9-3 record and were competitive in every game against the U of A. However, a controversial off-season rule change by the CIAU has seriously crippled the Dinos--a rule which forced nearly the entire Dinos roster from last year to quit the team this season.
"The bottom line is Canada West instituted a new rule that any varsity player can only play varsity; they can't play with any other club," said Berg. "This year we play 16 games, they play 30-plus [games] in clubs--which team would you play for?"
Among the players who chose to play with a club team, such as the U of C-based Oval Extreme, were last year's leading scorer Colleen "Toronto" Sostorics, captain Mariann MacDougall and national team members Kelly Bechard and Robyn Rittmaster. Berg understands their decisions.
"They're high performance athletes and 16 games aren't enough to challenge them," she said. Berg added that last year's Head Coach Julie Healy was another casualty of the CIAU's decision.
"She accepted a job back in Montreal. I think she was frustrated at the ruling," said Berg.
In the meantime, Berg says the team will continue to stay positive and practice hard.
"We're in a rebuilding year, but as the year goes on, we'll get better."
The Dinos will play the University of British Columbia next weekend at the Olympic Oval, Fri. and Sat. at 7 p.m. While Calgary has struggled so far this year, optimism must stem from the fact that the Dinos handily took every game from the Thunderbirds last year.