Eighteen-year-old Sydney Caron has landed a hockey scholarship at Davenport University in Michigan, and she hopes that’s just the first step.
“If I was an inspiration to someone it would probably be one of the biggest goals to check off my list,” said the Lady Sting defenceman.
“I think it’s important to make sure that the younger generation of girls playing hockey have someone to look up to.”
Caron found her way onto Davenport’s radar after her parents assembled a video resume of highlights from her season with the Lady Sting, a team that went to provincials.
The women’s hockey program in Grand Rapids liked what it saw, and after scouting a prospect skate in April make her an offer.
“The one thing they liked was my positional play, (and) how quick the release of the puck was,” she said, noting that was a skill she worked hard on this year.
“I think It’s going to be a big change to what I’m use to. I’m excited to see where it can take me and what my gameplay will be like with them, seeing what the coach has to offer the girls.”
Caron will report to the Division 1 Davenport team in September and expects they’ll waste no time assembling a squad missing many recent graduates.
Caron first laced up a pair of skates when she was two. Playing in a male-dominated sport, she drew inspiration from five-time Olympic medalist Hayley Wickenheiser, impressed by how she advocated for women’s hockey, offered commentary, and raised a family.
“She was the captain of her team in the Olympics, and seeing the ‘C’ on her jersey made me strive to be a leader and show my team that I could be someone they could look up to,” recalled Caron.
“It was a moment that I realized that I could be like her.”
The Great Lakes Secondary grad dabbled in many sports over the years, including cross country, basketball and soccer.
But a chance phone conversation with Wickenheiser sealed the deal for her, allowing her to set her sights on a hockey career.
“For me, it was important to show that women can play at a high level.”
Between practices and games, Caron will pursue a Bachelor of Science degree with the long-term goal of working in law enforcement, ideally as a police officer.
But first, Caron plans to see how far she can go on the ice.
She enjoys mentoring younger players, including assisting at her younger brother’s practices.
And though opportunities for female hockey players are hard to find, they are out there, she said.
“I hope to make it more known for girls, so they understand that hockey is a possibility, that it’s not just a sport for men.”