Campus Life

Kaip makes mark with new class

Chandy Kaip was the head coach of the University of Lethbridge Pronghorns women's hockey program this past year but it could be argued that it never really was her team.

While Kaip was able to slowly implement her systems and philosophies, she was still working with a largely inherited group of players. This spring, Kaip was able to announce her first recruiting class and when the Horns hit the ice this fall, her stamp on the program will be official.

"Looking at this recruiting class, I believe we're bringing in some of the top players in western Canada, players who will be able to jump in and contribute right away," Kaip says. "They have that experience of playing at an elite level, and they're all great kids. They're strong academically, they'll be good student athletes and good for the community and the University environment."

Her first class consists of six recruits, including a pair (Jenna-Marie Durnin of Wawanesa, Man. and Jasmin Teske of Calgary, Alta.) who played in the inaugural ESSO Cup – Female National Midget Championship. Kaip believes it sets the program in good stead, headed toward a goal she announced when she took over the program.

"I've said that after this first year, we will never miss the playoffs. That may sound cocky but I'm confident that I will make sure this program will always have the opportunity to be successful," she says.

"I wanted to build that foundation in the first year, find the holes that needed to be filled and by that second year, really start to become a contender in Canada West."

The second year is now at hand, and Kaip says both she and her players learned a lot their first season together. While the results were not immediate, the Horns (4-19-1) were competitive on a nightly basis in the season's second half. No weekend was more telling than a pair of one-goal losses to University of Alberta, a perennial league power.

"I think more than anything, it was us gaining confidence," Kaip says. "We started changing the mentality of always being at the bottom of the standings and changing the mentality to where we know we can score goals and that we are a good defensive team. A lot of it was growing team chemistry and then establishing a belief that we can execute the game plan."

Creating trust throughout the lineup was another key issue. As players began to trust teammates to do their jobs, the game simplified, allowing each skater to focus on fulfilling their individual roles.

"Once they understood everyone was on the same system, they only had to worry about their own job," Kaip says.

The next phase of the plan is to realize her goal of making playoffs. In three to four years, the Horns expect to qualify for nationals and contend for a title. This first recruiting class is just a start.

2009-2010 Recruiting Class

• Jenna-Marie Durnin (F), Wawanesa, Man.

• Jasmin Teske (D), Calgary, Alta.

• Cheyne Ogilvie (D), Pense, Sask.

• Glenda Edie (D), Dugald, Man.

• Taryn Cook (F), Medicine Hat, Alta.

• Vanessa Fusick (F), Tisdale, Sask.