Cross Lake players having an impact in women’s university hockey in Canada and the U.S.

A trio of female hockey players from Pimicikamak Cree Nation at Cross Lake were featured Dec. 8 in an NHL.com story by William Douglas, who writes about players of colour for the league’s website.

Saige McKay and Carrigan Umpherville are both playing for the NCAA Division I Long Island University (LIU) this season.

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Umpherville is leading her team in scoring with more than a point per game so far in her freshman season, recording seven goals and nine assists in 15 games. 

"I learned that there's so much talent," Umpherville told NHL.com. "Coming here and playing Wisconsin, they were good as a team and they had skilled players. It was kind of tough to keep up with them."

Her teammate McKay has scored one goal and added four assists while playing defence in 14 games this season and hopes to follow in the footsteps of Brigette Lacquette, who was the first Indigenous woman to play hockey for Canada in in the Olympics in 2018.

"I want to get better and maybe do what Brigette Lacquette does, how she goes around the country giving speeches at hockey schools, specifically for native people," McKay said in the NHL.com article. "I want to show them that we're not so different from other people, that we can do whatever we set our minds on."

Back in Canada, Kennesha Miswaggon is in her first year with the University of British Columbia women’s hockey team in Vancouver, where she has recorded one goal and three assists in 16 games on the blueline.

"It's really an amazing thing, honestly," Miswaggon told NHL.com. "I didn't expect to come this far growing up, coming from a small community. You don't expect to get an opportunity, so just having my best friends go out to the states and me to the West Coast, it's really crazy."

Umpherville, McKay and Miswaggon all played for the Thompson- and The Pas-based Norman Wild of the Manitoba Female Midget Hockey League before moving to the province’s south to play high school hockey.

Former Norman Northstars and OCN Blizzard player Brady Keeper made headlines last spring when he became the first player from Cross Lake to make it to the NHL when he signed a contract with the Florida Panthers after playing NCAA hockey for the University of Maine.

 

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