2018Feb 6

Staring Down the Face of Adversity – Ellery Veerman

Veer 7    Ellery Veerman / Center / Laurentian Voyageurs

 

From a young age, hockey has always been a passion for me and I have done whatever it takes to be able to play the game.

Growing up in the small Northern Ontario town of Englehart I played minor hockey on a boys team every year. The closest girls team was 40 minutes away and having three older siblings who were also playing hockey made this commute nearly impossible.

 

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When the time came to think about my future and apply to post secondary, I had not been in contact with any schools regarding competitive hockey and to be honest, I didn’t know much about the university sports scene. In pursuit of my undergrad I decided to attend McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. Once I got there, I continued playing the game I loved on the universities club team. Playing on an essentially self-sufficient team without funding from the university was a new experience for me and was adversity in itself. We competed in a Senior A/AA league and the commitment level was very different from that of a university team.

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While the four years I spent going to school and playing hockey at Mac was a great experience, I wanted to continue my education somewhere closer to home. Due to the limited schooling options up north, Laurentian was one of the few choices I had and lucky for me, Laurentian had just started their women’s varsity hockey program while I was in my last year at Mac. Despite knowing that players were sometimes recruited years before coming to school, I decided to go to tryouts and face even more adversity because I am willing to do anything to play the game I love.

After battling and competing through the highs and lows of training camp and pre season I was finally told the good news; I had made the team and I could not have been happier. “I will never forget the day the coaches pulled me aside and told me they wanted me to stick around”.

 

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After two successful seasons in the blue and gold I was excited to get my third season underway. However, early in the season I suffered an injury – my ACL was completely torn and I was shocked. Not willing to stay away from the ice I did what I have been doing my whole life to play the game I loved – I stared down the face of adversity and battled through the pain of such a serious injury. Knowing there would be an extensive recovery time if I decided to have surgery I made the choice to continue playing the rest of the season.

Upon the completion of the season I opted to have surgery to repair my ACL. Knowing I would be facing adversity once again, I did whatever it took to get back on the ice as quickly as possible. “Even though there were numerous challenges early in my recovery – even some that continue now – I was back on the ice in October thanks to the endless support of family, friends, teammates and coaches.”

 

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After countless hours of rehab and working to get back to game shape, I was finally able to get back into the lineup for our last weekend of games before the exam break in December. Stepping back on the ice to play the game I have loved since I was little, especially after such a hard road to recovery, was a feeling like no other. Each and every day, I continue to play my heart out knowing that you cannot take any practice or game for granted.

Knowing how tough of a league the OUA is, there is a little more adversity I must face to finish off my varsity career. However, knowing adversity has never stopped me before, I am poised to continue to lead my team in the push to make the playoffs and take us as deep as possible into the post season.

See you on the ice, adversity.

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