The University of Toronto’s women’s hockey program is a powerhouse in the Ontario University Association.
Last season, they finished second in the province with a 15-7-2 record before losing in the consolation final of the 2019 U Sports championship to the Manitoba Bisons.
This upcoming year will be one of change for the Blues as many of their star veterans have graduated.
The team signed four first-year athletes to fill the holes in the lineup and it will be interesting to see which direction this takes them. 49 sports took a look at the V Blues roster and picked our top three players to watch for 2019-20.
3. Natasha Athanasakos
Athanasakos is one of the first-year athletes added to the Blues’ roster ahead of this season. Last year she played with the Toronto Junior Aeros and recorded 22 points through 36 games. With big offensive producers like Lauren Straatman and Kassie Roache leaving, Athanasakos will be one of the players that can fill in the void. With the turnover the team is going through, the Unionville Ontario native has the chance to take advantage of the opportunity and make a name for herself in the OUA. If she makes a strong first impression, she can cement herself into the team’s top six in no time.
2. Louie Bieman
Louie spent most of her time flanked by two strong Blues’ veterans in Lauren Straatman and Kassie Roache. She is now entering her third season on the team and her leadership will be required to help guide the next wave of Blues’ players. Last season she recorded 13 points (5 goals and 8 assists) in 22 regular-season games and in the playoffs, she leads the team in points, all of them being assists.
Bieman’s playmaking will be counted on this season and hopefully her ability to find the right lanes will translate into increased production in her new linemates.
1. Erica Fryer
No hockey team can go far without their goaltender and Erica Fryer is one of the biggest reasons for U of T’s success on the ice.
Last season was her rookie year and she dominated, playing 18 games and posting a .925 save percentage. Her 1.49 goals-against average led the team on an eight-game winning streak back in January. The Blues depend on her to win as she played over 1086 minutes, the sixth most in the OUA. Coming into her sophomore season she is a vital key for the team and as long as Fryer continues to play the way she has so far, the Blues’ chances at winning get much better.
Despite losing some big names, the University of Toronto Varsity Blues still have capable players who are ready to carry the torch. The new first-year additions anchored by Fryer’s dependable goaltending will allow this team to continue to be a threat to the OUA, and hopefully an appearance at the U Sports championships.
the Blues open their preseason on September 14th with a home game against their downtown rivals Ryerson University, in preparation for their OUA opener in October versus Queens Gaels in Kingston.