It was a nerve-wracking experience for a few university hockey players as they returned to their hometowns to play an exhibition game. Four PWM Steelers alumni returned to Lloydminster and Wainwright as players for the University of Saskatchewan Huskies and University of Alberta Pandas.
Stephanie Fischer, Kennedy Ganser, Payton Laumbach and Chelsea Debusschere played two exhibition games on September 14 and 15 for their university teams.
The U of S Huskies took the first game 5-0 but the Pandas bounced back for the second game 3-0.
Randy Laumbach’s daughter, Payton, was one of the returning PWM Steelers playing for the University of Alberta Pandas. She also made her first goal of the season in the second game.
“Wainwright is where our farm is so it was pretty neat to see her score a goal in her home in Wainwright,” Laumbach says. “It was pretty fun for us parents as well to watch your daughter succeed and get to the level where all these girls dreamed of playing.”
Laumbach says his daughter enjoyed the experience and the games opened conversations about the skill level of university hockey and the quality of the Steelers program.
“The game was fast-paced and I think most people don’t realize, at the CIS level, how good the girl hockey players are and how well the female game has come,” Laumbach says.
Corrina Fischer’s daughter, Stephanie, played for the U of A Pandas and says her daughter was nervous about playing in her hometown.
“She wished her first game was somewhere other than Lloydminster because she was so jittery and it’s a bit of pressure to play in front of your hometown. But she was all smiles when it was done and glad to get the first game out of the way.”
Fischer says everyone at the game was supportive of her daughter and the returning players.
“People were excited to see them and happy to see that there’s a place to play somewhere else when they’re done minor hockey,” Fischer says. “I was pleased to see her fit in and she looked like that’s where she should play.”
Both Laumbach and Fischer hope the game starts to become an annual event.
“It’s good to get the game out there and they know that Lloydminster has produced a lot of good hockey players over the past years,” Laumbach says. “So it’s good for the universities and they like to give back as well.”