by Stephanie Owen
2015-16 was an enjoyable, hard-fought season and hopefully the beginning of a turn around for the Women's Blues who have had difficult seasons in recent years. The team, spearheaded by wonder woman and literal living legend Norwegian Hanna Ajer, has played this year in the BUIHA's Non-Checking south 2 division. We were once again joined by many complete novices who threw themselves into the sport with passion and drive and have contributed dramatically to the core of the team.
The Women's Blues were also joined by Ian Offers, GB sledge hockey coach who has taken on the role of Head Coach for the women. He's been an extremely positive influence on the team and extremely dedicated, attending all of our late night training sessions and late night games across the country. Assistant Coach Cosmin Davidescu has also proved a valuable asset for the team, running off-ice stick handling and on-ice skating drills which have been essential, particularly for our novice players.
Our 0-8 record this season is not reflective of the efforts of the team who, joined by men from the CUIHC development team, battled for every minute of every period this season. The tough season led into a tough Varsity for Cambridge. Oxford were looking to build on their 25-0 win of 2015 and it was an achievement for the team to reduce this to a score of 17-1. Netminders Stephanie Owen and Rebecca Love fought to save shots throughout the game from Oxford's formidable Jennifer Lawrence who scored over half of the Oxford goals. Despite the harsh scoreline, Cambridge improved on the previous year's deficit and special congratulations goes to Nicole Abernethy. Nicole, an experienced player who joined the team mid year, scored Cambridge's only goal in Varsity. The team are also particularly proud of Captain Hanna Ajer who not only led the team into Varsity but received her first and only penalty for checking from behind.
The national championships held in Sheffield in March is a highlight of the calendar for all BUIHA teams. This year Cambridge Women played in Tier IV against mixed teams from both the North and South of the UK. The highlight for the team was the 2-1 game against the Sheffield Bears' Women in which we led for a large part of the game.
Moving into the summer, the Cambridge women haven't stopped to rest, with 6 of our players attending the BUIHA summer camp in Vierumaki, Finland in June. The team received intense and fantastic coaching from GB coaching staff including goalie coach Nathan Craze. All the players who attended made great progress even though we picked up some injuries on the way. We all hope to take what we've learnt and use it well in our next season in order to build on the progress we've made this year.