In her last year of CIS competition, Cougars women’s hockey captain Rianne Wight is not looking too far into the future.
Right now, it is all about what she can do for her team.
“A national championship is what our goal is,” she said. “This year we really have been talking about it a lot, and it’s something that’s on all of our minds, so hopefully we can do that.”
And after her CIS career is over?
“I haven’t really thought too much about it. I’m trying not to, because it’s kind of depressing,” she said with a laugh.
For now, the captain keeps her focus squarely on the season at hand.
Through week three of the 2012-13 season, the team has played well, but with some room for improvement.
“We’ve been playing good. Kind of inconsistent at times,” Wight said. “I still think we have a long way to go, but since we started we’ve improved a lot on our battles, and we’re playing harder and competing harder, so it’s good. I’m happy with that.”
Wight recognizes the areas that need improvement.
“Playing with our heads up, recognizing the situation we’re in and playing within that situation,” she said. “We haven’t been doing very well in the scoring. Our defence is doing a lot of our production, which we, as forwards, need to be doing more of.”
When it comes to leadership, Wight said she tries to lead by example.
“I try to work hard on and off the ice to show them that if I’m working this hard, you guys should also do the same,” she said.
“A national championship is what our goal is. This year we really have been talking about it a lot, and it’s something that’s on all of our minds, so hopefully we can do that.” – Rianne Wight
She also stresses the importance of working as a team.
“If you want to win, everyone’s got to buy in together, and work towards the same goal,” she said.
In terms of her own personal production, Wight said she’s “not overly” satisfied with her numbers so far this year, despite being among the team’s point leaders.
“I guess you’re never really happy, are you? You’re always hoping to improve,” she said.
While Wight was among the team’s top scorers last season, her aim is to regain the form of her third year, when she scored 16 goals – second only to Calgary’s Hayley Wickenheiser, who led the Canada West with 17.
And there’s no shame in coming in second to one of the greatest women hockey players to ever play the game.
“She’s a good player. Whenever we play against them, we play to shut her down,” Wight said. “She plays aggressive and she plays in your face … if you’re doing something to piss her off, she’ll tell you.”
While Wickenheiser provides a formidable challenge, Wight doesn’t have anything against the three-time Olympic gold medalist playing CIS hockey.
“I don’t think it’s unfair, no, because if she wants a university degree, and she wants to play university hockey, why should we stop her?” she said.
During their first encounter this year with Wickenheiser and the University of Calgary Dinos on Oct. 19, Wight and the Cougars held the all-star forward to two assists in a 3-0 loss.
The following night Wickenheiser again notched two assists, but the Cougars offense proved up to the challenge in handing the Dinos their first loss of the season, 4-3 in overtime.
With the win over the top-ranked Dinos, the Cougars record improves to 3-3.
In terms of the rest of the season, Wight said she is confident the team can earn a playoff berth.
“We just have to make that next step past playoffs,” she said. “We need to keep improving, and like I said, everybody has to buy in on systems and such. We need to play as a team to get that far, and we’re just not quite there yet.”