Campus Life

A place to call their own

Kathryn Manson doesn't enjoy 5:15 a.m. wake-up calls, but the 21-year-old
U of L student diligently sets her alarm for that exact time three days a week. As the captain of the Pronghorns women's hockey team, she drags herself out of bed well before the sun comes up and makes her way to Nicholas Sheran Arena for morning practice.

"Practice doesn't start until 6:15 a.m. but most of us are up much earlier than that because it takes so long to dress for hockey," explains Manson. "Once we're on the ice, our practices are really fast paced – probably to keep us awake."

Manson jokes about her alertness that early in the morning, but it's clear she feels at home on the ice. Unfortunately, off the ice is a different story.

Women's Hockey
Assistant coach Deb Marek, left, head coach Chandy Kaip, middle, and captain Kathryn Manson, right, are excited about the new dressing room facilities being constructed.

Although established in 1997, the Pronghorns women's hockey program has never had a dedicated dressing room. Tangibly speaking, this means players have to haul equipment in and out for every practice and game; on a deeper level, the lack of a space to call their own makes these Pronghorns feel like a visiting team in their own rink.

"It's unheard of in the CIS these days for a women's team to not have their own space," says Chandy Kaip, now in her third season as the Horns' head coach.
"These girls are here every morning at 5:30 a.m. and have to lug their bags in. Then, afterwards, they have to dry their stuff out at home, whether that's a dorm room or a basement or a freezing cold garage."

Thankfully, all that is about to change. In 2010, the City of Lethbridge announced renovation plans for the arena that include the addition of a dressing room for the women's hockey team. A grant from the Daryl K. Seaman Canadian Hockey Fund has allowed for the finishing touches to be added. The addition of private showers and washrooms, as well as an athletic training space and a coaching office will make this a truly personal and private space for these student athletes.

"The impact of this gift will be immediate," says Deb Marek, assistant coach of the Horns and manager of facilities and services for Sport and Recreation Services here on campus.
"Our players are already excited and we anticipate a surge in pride when the project is completed. This new space makes our women's program more professional and appealing in the eyes of our current and even potential players. It's going to be a great recruiting tool."

Manson, who's been dragging equipment in and out of the rink for the last four years, is looking forward to her own stall in a dressing room full of Pronghorns pride.

"People don't realize how huge it is for us to have our own dressing room," says Manson, speaking on behalf of her team. "It's going to make our lives so much simpler – it will certainly make getting up at 5:15 a.m. that much easier."
Finally, the women's hockey team will be home.


· Daryl (Doc) Seaman, who passed away in 2009, has been described as a hero, icon, pioneer, philanthropist, visionary and legend. He was an original owner of the Calgary Flames and was instrumental in bringing the team to Calgary in 1980.

· Manson broke her arm during the team's trip to Europe after colliding with another player at a game in Germany. She's been in a cast for 6 weeks and has missed 10 games.

· In addition to the new dressing room, Nicholas Sheran Arena is also adding dressing rooms for minor hockey and Lethbridge Sport Council office spaces.

· The enhancements supported by the Daryl K. Seaman Canadian Hockey Fund include: two large whiteboards, a workbench for prepping sticks, a small fridge, a projector or large TV, a washer and dryer and a stereo.

This story originally appeared in the Legend. For a look at the February issue of the Legend in a flipbook format, follow this link.