2022  i w d  h n b players to coaches two main
© SRM Photography

Making a difference in the Maritimes

In New Brunswick, a quartet of players-turned-coaches are giving back to the game and serving as role models for young girls and women

Hockey New Brunswick
March 11, 2022

Four former elite hockey players who moved behind the bench are using their positions and experience to grow the women’s game and mentor young players in New Brunswick.

Head coach Geneviève David and assistant coaches Jocelyn LeBlanc, Kristen McKinley and Taylor Maschmeyer make up the coaching staff of New Brunswick’s women’s U18 team that will represent the province at the 2023 Canada Winter Games. All four have extensive experience playing high-performance and university hockey before hanging up their skates to lead the next generation.

“Seeing our female staff for the Canada Games, I think it is incredible,” says Maschmeyer. “We’re all a part of the game in different ways, with different coaching and playing experiences. You don’t have to have played the game to be a coach, but it’s pretty remarkable to see that we all have a hockey résumé as well as a coaching résumé. I think that’s really unique and inspiring.”

David is an assistant coach with the St. Thomas University women’s team, which secured the Atlantic University Sport (AUS) championship in 2019. She has also coached high-performance women’s teams with Hockey New Brunswick (HNB) before and has a handful of Atlantic Challenge Cup titles from the past few years.

Her playing history includes two silver medals with Team Quebec at the National Women’s Under-18 Championship, a season with the Quebec Phenix in the Canadian Women’s Hockey League (CWHL) and an accomplished career with the Université de Moncton. In David’s first season, she won an AUS championship, nabbed bronze at the U SPORTS national championship and was rookie of the year for the university. She was an alternate captain in her second year and captain for her final two seasons with the Aigles Bleues.

LeBlanc played in HNB’s high-performance program for four years, including at the 2007 Canada Winter Games. She attended Dalhousie University, where she was a five-time AUS all-star and is still the all-time leading scorer for the women’s hockey program. She also won a gold medal with Team Canada at the FISU World University Games. LeBlanc has served as a coach of the high-performance women’s program with HNB and attended Canada’s National Women’s Under-18 Team selection camp as a coach.

McKinley played in HNB’s high-performance program for four years, including as a member of Team New Brunswick at the 2015 Canada Winter Games, and on Team Atlantic at U18 nationals in 2015 and 2016. She was on a member of Canada’s National Women’s Under-18 Team for a three-game series against the United States in August 2016 before playing hockey at St. Francis Xavier University for four years. McKinley first took on a coaching role at the age of 12 and now coaches with the EDZA South U15 AAA Hericanes; she played on the first-ever Hericanes team in 2011.

Maschmeyer was part of HNB’s U18 program for two years, including serving as alternate captain of Team New Brunswick at the 2011 Canada Winter Games. Maschmeyer then played for St. Francis Xavier University, winning the AUS championship and a bronze medal at U SPORTS nationals in her first season. She was rookie of the year for the university before serving as alternate captain of the team in her second year. Maschmeyer was named captain for her final two years, receiving the AUS most sportsmanlike player award both seasons. She was head coach of the HNB U18 women’s team in 2021 and is currently head coach of the Oromocto High School AAA Blues.

The choice to transition from playing to coaching was easy for all four players, but they all faced a similar challenge: the lack of mentors they had as players.

“I picked up things from coaches I had in the past, but I never had a female role model as a coach when I was a player growing up,” David says. “That was a challenge when I became a coach. So now I want to pass on my knowledge and make sure there are young women involved in coaching who can serve as role models.”

Additionally, all four played on various boys teams growing up, since playing exclusively with their peers usually wasn’t an option. But they all see the tide turning, with more opportunities available for girls and women today.

“It’s way different than when I grew up,” says LeBlanc. “I didn’t start playing hockey with girls until high school, whereas now they can play on an all-female team right from the start. It’s important to have that option for girls to explore where they want to go.”

The staff recognizes the important role they’ve been given, and also the unique situation they find themselves in. Each coach has lived these experiences and can relate to their players’ ambitions for the future.

“When I was at the U18 Team Canada camp, one quote that stuck with me was, ‘We’re here to create good hockey players and better people,’” says McKinley. “We’re playing a very crucial role in their development.”

Above all, they recognize the importance of being a resource and mentor for players who may one day also make the transition to a coaching or leadership role.

“I’m a huge believer in ‘if you can see it, you can be it,’” says LeBlanc. “If you can see this representation, not only playing but coaching and officiating, then people can strive to be that as they get older. HNB created an all-female staff and the visibility is important for young female players.”

For more information:

Esther Madziya
Manager, Communications
Hockey Canada

(403) 284-6484 

Spencer Sharkey
Manager, Communications
Hockey Canada

(403) 777-4567

Jeremy Knight
Manager, Corporate Communications
Hockey Canada

(647) 251-9738

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