UNB Reds women's hockey team loses in first game back

The UNB Reds women's hockey team may not have had the result it hoped for in its first game of the Atlantic University Sport regular season.

But head coach Sarah Hilworth says she is proud of the way her team competed.

Ten years after UNB cut the women's hockey program, the new team played its season opener Saturday against the Mount Allison Mounties at the Aitken Centre, losing 2-1 in overtime. 

Hilworth said it was a good showing in front of a crowd of 1,600 who came out to cheer on the teams. 

"There were a lot of nerves running through their systems prior to the game so we kind of had to work out some kinks," she said.

Support countrywide

The coach said her team improved as the game moved along.

Submitted by UNB Athletics/James West photo

"I'm just thrilled they got that game out of the way and had the support they did." 

She said the support wasn't only in the rink. The teams received messages on social media that included pictures of parents with their daughters watching the game online.

"I think [it] was really really special that this game meant so much to so many." 

Hilworth said the team was disappointed it didn't get a win on the special night. But she reassured the players the support would continue as they continued to build.  

'Special night'

Sylvia Bryson was at the game. She is the player who filed a human rights complaint against the university for sexual discrimination when the team was cut in 2008.

"It was a special night and I was really excited to be there," she said.

​Bryson dropped the puck for the ceremonial faceoff and said the team did great. 

"I think they had a fantastic first showing," she said. "It's always tough when you have a lot of ceremony leading up to the game and you just want to get going as a player."

When asked how she felt about being there to see the women's hockey team play a game after a decade, Bryson said: "It was really really satisfying to see the team back on the ice." 

She said she will be back in the rink Sunday to see the team take on the St. Thomas Tommies. 

Hilworth says she's excited as well. 

"I can't wait to see how they play against a big big rival today with STU."