Airdrie d-man making rookie year count in Red Deer
Thursday, Dec 14, 2017 06:00 am
In her first year with the Red Deer College (RDC) Queens, Airdrie’s Catherine Longchamps has impressed as a rookie with her consistent play on the back-end.
Following a successful midget career in the Alberta Female Hockey League, Longchamps has had early success with the Queens as a key contributor on the team. So far this season, she has six points (3g, 3a) in 14 games, putting her first for goals among the defencemen on her team and third for points overall.
“I really like it (at RDC), it’s perfect, I’m not too far from home and the team is really great,” Longchamps said. “This has been more than I expected. I wasn’t sure at first, but now it’s awesome.”
Longchamps said having an offensive side to her game was never her strong suit, but she has improved from her time in midget hockey and that has brought a new aspect to her game.
“I want to keep at the level I am playing at and getting better,” Longchamps said. “I feel like I’ve gotten a lot better compared to last year, but I think it’s because the coaches push us hard and I don’t want to let them down.”
Although the transition to college-level hockey can be a jump for young players, Longchamps has taken the challenge in stride contributing at both ends of the ice, while playing in every game for the Queens as part of the young defensive core.
Longchamps said the biggest challenge is the pace and speed of the game, but that doesn’t seem to be impacting her as she leads all rookies in points and has become a fixture on the Queens’ special teams.
The rearguard added her decision to join RDC stemmed from the positive input she’d heard from other players and the success of the team in the past, including an Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC) Championship in the 2015-16 season.
Although she has enjoyed the time with the Queens, Longchamps tenure will likely not be a long one as she will be required to transfer to another school following her second year to complete her bachelor of education degree.
Longchamps said she has intentions of continuing hockey after her two years at RDC, so heading to a university with a strong hockey program is of interest to her.
Despite knowing her time will be short with RDC, Longchamps isn’t looking too far into the future and is focused on making her time with the Queens count.
“We’ve already grown very close, it’s going to be hard to leave them (after) next year,” Longchamps said. “(Winning an ACAC Championship) would be an amazing experience. Being a rookie and winning a championship would be awesome.”
The Queens have been a top contender in the ACAC this season, jumping out to a 9-3-2 record, putting it in a tie for the league lead with the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) Ooks at 20 points.