Fourth-year Dalhousie University Tigers women’s hockey veteran Brooklyn Paisley is taking Atlantic University Sport (AUS) hockey by storm.
Paisley is tied for first in the AUS in points scored as of Oct. 19 with six. Her team is also off to a solid start, featuring a 3-1 win over the Mount Allison University Mounties on Oct. 7 and a 4-2 loss to the rival Saint Mary’s University Huskies on Oct. 8. Paisley scored the Tigers’ first two goals of the season against Mount Allison, followed by a two-point performance against SMU.
Paisley led the team with 26 penalty minutes in 2021-2022 but as of Oct. 19 this year, she has yet to take a penalty.
Becoming a leader
The forward credits her early season success to her experience, as she’s been on the team for five years. That count includes the four seasons of hockey she’s played in plus the 2020-2021 season lost to the COVID-19 pandemic. The team trained some that year despite not having a regular season.
“Being in my fifth year, I need to set an example for the young girls on the team. It gave me more motivation to have a hot start because I want to be a leader on the team,” Paisley said. “It was really good to welcome in the new girls every year, and being in a leadership role and helping the team throughout the years.”
She praises having the opportunity to play for head coach Troy Ryan, a household name in Canadian hockey. He’s the coach of the Canada National Women’s Hockey Team, most recently helping them win gold at the 2022 World Women’s Hockey Championships.
Paisley wants to become a more well-rounded player, specifically in her team’s defensive zone. Her goal is to be someone Ryan can depend upon in defensive situations.
“He is probably the best coach ever in Dal history, honestly. He knows what he’s talking about. We can believe everything he’s saying and that’s what is going to set us up for success this year,” said Paisley.
All in the motivation
Izzy Weist, the team’s captain, said Paisley’s drive to become a better player in her senior year is driving her to a different level to start 2021-2022.
“We have a really good team this year, so everyone is excited to play and compete. I think that motivation to have a really good season has kicked her first two games off strong,” said Weist.
She said the Tigers’ play as a team has been the reason for their early success.
“We’re playing as a team and getting the little habits that are most effective,” Weist said. “We’re a hardworking team. We are winning the battles and we’re playing our style of game. [We] have been dictating the play and that has made us successful.”
Last season, the Tigers’ season ended with a loss to Halifax rival SMU in the quarterfinals of the AUS playoffs. Paisley said she still feels the sting of the defeat but is using that as motivation.
“It’s never easy or good to lose to SMU. We always have had a good rivalry with them, so it’s more motivating to know that we can beat them this year,” said Paisley.
The Tigers embarked on a road trip to New Brunswick on Oct. 15 and 16 with mixed results. After losing to the Université de Moncton Aigles Bleues 4-0, Dal played the St. Thomas University Tommies and won 3-2.
Paisley recorded a goal and an assist against St. Thomas but was held off the scoresheet along with the rest of the team against Moncton. As of Oct. 19, Dalhousie sits in fifth place out of eight teams in the AUS standings.