In the game of hockey, balance is essential. Creating the right combinations of players and personalities can make all the difference.
Off the ice, balance is just as important, and it starts at the top. This year’s women’s hockey team will benefit from a trio of captains that epitomizes balanced leadership. In their fourth and final year sharing the ice, seniors Erinn Perushek, Jenel Bode, and Sarah Olivier will truly act as an example of leadership by committee.
“We’re not all cut from the same block,” said Bode, a hard-hitting forward from Yorkton, Saskatchewan. “We have a lot of differences, and we can bring the team together that way, providing leadership in all aspects of the team and the game.”
Bode, who was fifth on the team last year in both assists and points, is the self-proclaimed “loud” one. She admits, “I talk a lot on the ice and in the weight room. I try to bring out in other players the same heart and dedication that I hope I bring to the game.”
Bode’s co-captains echo this sentiment:
“Bode is the energy nucleus of our team,” says Perushek. “She works hard whether we’re up 10 or down 10. She keeps you on your toes.”
After two weekends of losses and a points column stuck on zero, enthusiasm and energy are just what the team needs. Bode refuses to let a slow start dictate the season. “It’s no fun when you’re not winning,” she related. “I want to win some games!”
Bode sees communication and confidence as the key to success in upcoming games. “I really want to come together as a team,” she said. “I know that once we poke in that first goal, the net will fill up, we just have to stay confident.”
Fellow forward, Olivier, who was third on the team in assists and points last season, also commented on the team’s first contests, noting, “With four games played and no scoring, the stress level is getting a little higher. We just have to relax and be confident and get it done.”
Getting it done is Olivier’s way. “I’m the silent one of the captains, I just go out there and play, and that’s my way of leading,” she said. “I really feel the tradition and the pride of playing here, and I want to leave the younger girls with that too.”
“Sarah’s the quiet person that takes everything in, gathers her thoughts, and then speaks up,” Bode said of her linemate. “Everyone really listens when Sarah has something to say, because she understands the game so well,” adds Perushek.
Helping the rookies adjust to Division 1 hockey will be essential this season, as the large freshman class could make a big impact on the team. Olivier is aware of the role team chemistry has in successful play, “The freshman class came in and joined us really easily. One of our biggest strengths is that our team gets along really well — we’d like to translate that onto the ice too.”
Olivier hopes her dedication to the team and the traditions that make Cornell hockey special will influence the newcomers and push them to work hard. “My goal for the team is really for us to click and get better as a whole — I just wanna leave this season feeling good about my four years.”
Perushek shares many of Olivier’s thoughts concerning Cornell hockey and her final season. “I’ve loved every minute of every practice and game I’ve played at Cornell,” she explained. “This year especially, I’m just taking it all in.”
Perushek has very specific goals for the team, however. “I’m looking for our team to finish in the top four of the Ivies, a goal which I think is very realistic,” she assured. “We’ve always been a competitive team, and this year we just need to find that equalizer that will allow us to pull even and pull past teams that we put the pressure on but can’t quite beat.”
Careful and intelligent analysis is customary from Perushek, who Olivier notes, “notices a lot of things. She’s the team mom, always able to tell us what we need to be doing to get better.”
Perushek’s insight comes partly from what she describes as her “utility player” role in past years. She has played both defense and offense in her three years at Cornell, jumping between lines depending on the needs of the team. This experience has afforded her a great deal of knowledge in all aspects of the game and has aided in her ability to communicate with both coaches and teammates.
With such a balanced crew — one part enthusiasm, one part hard work, and one part insight — the Red may have the recipe for success.
Archived article by Sarah Spain