Written by Stuart Miller-Davis, Carleton Sports Information
Photo by Marc Lafleur
Carleton’s women’s hockey program is looking to take a big step forward this year, but the team’s success will ultimately depend on the Ravens’ heart and soul, goaltender Katelyn Steele.
The Markham, ON native and Criminology and Criminal Justice major was named to the Réseau du Sport Étudiant de Quebec (RESQ) Second Team All-Star team last season for the second consecutive year, but her heart and passion for the game are what sets her apart.
“She’s such a good role model,” said Ravens head coach Pierre Alain. “She does everything right and she does it with her heart and her passion. In terms of personality, she’s the heart of the team.”
“Whether it’s away from the rink or on the ice, Katelyn is always focused on the team,” said Valerie Bouillon, a third-year Ravens defenceman. “Even if she is injured, she always wants to be involved in the action.”
Though she doesn’t have an ‘A’ or a ‘C’ sewn onto her jersey, Steele is the team’s leader on and off the ice.
“Katelyn is so passionate about the game, that her leadership qualities come off naturally,” said team captain Leah Scott.
“Every day, Katelyn is super important to the team,” said first-year goalie, Nieve Seeley. “She keeps everyone on the same page. In our group chat, she’s organizing everyone and making sure that we are all involved. She’s also making sure there are no conflicts between anyone.”
Steele says being a team captain can be a lot of pressure, but it’s something that comes naturally for her.
“It doesn’t matter if I have a letter displayed on my jersey, I will always be a leader on the team,” said Steele.
Focusing on the ice, the Ravens finished last in the five team RESQ with a 4-14-2 record with Steele playing in 17 of 18 games.
Alain compared the situation to the Pittsburgh Penguins captain, Sidney Crosby.
“The Penguins’ best player is Sidney Crosby. Our best player is Katelyn Steele,” said Alain, when referring to the amount of ice time Steele commands. “You always have to play your best player as much as you can.”
Steele’s teammates said that she is a security blanket and someone who they can trust.
“Katelyn is always there, even if I mess up at the blueline, it’s comforting knowing that she’s in goal,” said Bouillon.
Nicole Allison echoed those feelings and added that it helps to have a keeper who consistently performs at a high level.
“It’s definitely very reassuring when it comes down to overtime and you are pretty confident with who you have in net,” said the third-year defenceman. “When she’s in net, it definitely helps, you play better because you are not scared on the ice.”
Scott points to the youth on the team and how having Steele behind them allows them to be creative.
“We are a growing team still,” said Scott. “We have a lot to work on, but knowing that she is going to be back there to save us at times allows us to try new things, get better and move forward.”
The Ravens have their eyes on a playoff spot, but have a lot of work to do in the second half of the season as they enter the new year two points back of McGill for the final postseason berth.
Steele remains the key piece to the puzzle.
“We all have a role to play in this, but hers, as a leader, as one of our best players, is to make everyone else better,” said Scott.
The Ravens face an uphill battle as the season continues, but the team is prepared for the grind ahead in the coming months.
“We know we are the underdogs,” said Seeley. “We like being underestimated. We can catch teams by surprise.”
“Katelyn is definitely a key part to our success; she’s a very good goalie, so it’s only going to bring us further,” added Allison.
Steele says the key to getting to the playoffs this year is working hard and playing with heart. The Ravens are hopeful that Steele can be the difference maker down the stretch.
Watch Katelyn Steele and the Ravens when they return to the ice at home against the Montreal Carabins on Sunday, January 7.