She shoots, she scores..!

In 2015-16, she earned 20 points for her team with four goals in the regular hockey season. The UWaterloo athlete gave a whopping 16 assists this year and is ending her career at eighth place in Canada for assists. She is Kaitlyn McDonell, outgoing captain of UWaterloo’s women’s hockey team.

Kaitlyn McDonellUnlike many student athletes, McDonell was not recruited to play varsity hockey during her final year of high school. However the player wasn't phased by her situation and tried out for the UWaterloo team as a walk-on in first year anyway. Sprinting across the ice, she managed to capture the attention of the Warriors' coaches and was recruited as a forward, despite only having minor league hockey training.

Prior to UWaterloo, I played high school hockey for Kincardine District Secondary School and played for the Tiverton Intermediate C girl's team. It's pretty uncommon for Ontario University Athletics hockey players to come from teams other than "Junior" or midget AA, and so coming from Intermediate C was definitely a huge jump to university-level hockey.

Three Warriors team membersThat challenge motivated McDonell to put everything she had into perfecting her skills alongside her team. Over the next three years, the Kinesiology student adjusted into the pace and competition of varsity-level sports, finding her niche with the Waterloo Warriors.

I stuck with hockey over the years because I was so passionate about it. At first, I felt as though I was in a bit over my head and that I didn't really deserve to be there or really belong at this caliber of hockey. I would say getting myself to a level where I felt like I had earned my place and that I really deserved to be there was really challenging.

Kaitlin hit her stride in her fourth year. Of 24 games she played in 2014-15, she managed to score six assists and five goals for UWaterloo. Her prowess in skates, combined with her leadership skills and positivity, then promoted her to the position of captain for her final season.

Having the respect of my teammates and coaches, and knowing they believed in me enough to put me in that role is one of the greatest honours I've had. There's nothing quite like the bond you make with your teammates, especially the group of girls I have been lucky enough to play with these past 5 years, and that is going to be one of the biggest things I'm going to miss when I graduate.

Graduating team membersAfter graduation, the fifth-year Kinesiology student plans to use her knowledge and experience to help other athletes reach their goals - as she did at Waterloo. She hopes to stay involved with the Warriors and become certified with the National Strength and Conditioning Association so she can help others build their strength and athletic skills.

For her final act, the outgoing captain has some hard-hitting advice for students, regardless where their skills or passions lie:

Ask yourself how badly you want to succeed. If you truly want something, put in the amount of work it takes to get there and then some. There will be setbacks and you will feel pressure along the way, but if it's important enough, you need to find a way to overcome those set-backs to reach your goals.

UWaterloo students, the world is at your feet.

Graduating team members

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