Heisler named to all-rookie team

Katie Brickman
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Thunderbird forward enjoys first Canada West season

Rookie seasons are all about learning, growing and proving oneself.

Hannah Heisler, a Moose Jaw native recently was named to the Canada West women's hockey all-rookie team. Photo by Rich Lam, UBC Thunderbirds

Hannah Heisler got off to a slow start, but was a proven scorer by the end of the playoffs for the UBC Thunderbirds.

The Moose Jaw native finished third in league rookie scoring in the Canada West Universities Athletic Association. She was also seventh in scoring for the Thunderbirds.

“It was a rough start, but coming into a new league and coming from the season I had last year, I had a lot to prove,” said Heisler via a phone interview from Vancouver. “So, I had to work hard and work for it. It was a good season.”

Heisler was a major component for the Regina Rebels of Saskatchewan Female Midget AAA Hockey League last year. She led the Rebels in points last season and helped the team finish fourth at the Esso Cup.

“Coming here, I got a different role than I did last year and I had to learn to play with different people. It is such a different experience, so you have to adapt to it,” said Heisler. “It was a hard thing to get used to because I was used to being that go-to person last year. This year, it was more of a step back and prove myself all over again.”

With UBC, she scored seven goals and had 11 points in 27 games and in six playoff games, she had six points.

She said it was a challenge playing at a higher level as well as getting used to new coaches and teammates.

“You come in as a rookie and you have to prove yourself all over again because the team doesn’t know you, the coaches don’t know you that well, so they don’t have that trust in you in the beginning,” she said. “It does get easier and I gained more and more confidence as I got used to the team and the coaching style.”

In late February, the Thunderbirds travelled to the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon for a best-of-five series Canada West semifinal.

They lost Game 1, but Heisler scored a goal in Game 2 to help the Thunderbirds win. In Game 3, Heisler scored both goals for the Thunderbirds, but the U of S eliminated them from the playoffs.

“It was challenging, but playoffs are a whole new season,” said Heisler.

It was nice for Heisler to be able to come home and play games in front of her family again.

“It was a really good feeling,” she said. “My family supports me so much, so to be able to have them there to watch me was a big confidence booster.”

Heisler finished the season with a spot on the all-rookie Canada West team, an award that caught her by surprise.

“I didn’t really expect it. It was a good feeling to know that all that hard work paid off in the end and it was recognized,” said Heisler.

The team will get back to training for next season in the upcoming weeks and Heisler is already focused on next year.

“This year was good rookie season, but you have to keep working to improve for next year so you come back with a big start,” she said.

Follow me on Twitter @katiebrickman.

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