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Defending crease, then country

After the 2015 Esso Cup, Brianne Waterman will go from saving pucks for the Moncton Rockets to serving in the Canadian Forces

Wendy Graves
April 22, 2015

Brianne Waterman has spent the past three seasons defending the crease for the Moncton Rockets. In that time she’s won three New Brunswick Female Midget AAA Hockey League titles and two Atlantic Region championships.

But shortly after the team leaves Red Deer, Alta., after competing in its second straight Esso Cup, Waterman will continue on a road to defending a much larger zone. She’s enlisted in the Canadian Forces.

“I wanted to do something different [but still] study,” says Waterman. An admitted short attention span and dislike of the school environment made this the better option for her to continue her education. “I just like helping people and I thought that was the way to go.”

Waterman has completed her first entry exam and is awaiting word on when she’ll be able to do her physical test and medical exam. If all goes well three months’ of basic training in Quebec will be followed by a year of trade training – she’s applied to be a materials technician, vehicle technical or carpenter – in Ontario.

“I would be on a reserve but not sitting at a desk all day,” she says. “I wouldn’t be on the front line but I wouldn’t be in the background either.”

The thought had been percolating for some time but moved full steam ahead in February. Pursuing a service career is hardly new for this family.

Waterman’s mom, Francine, had been a member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and three generations of family on dad Bill’s side served in the Armed Forces.

“It wasn’t a surprise in some ways,” says Bill. “Being able to give back by going into the Armed Forces is a great thing, and I think that’s one of the things she was looking at, too.”

Contributing to something bigger than herself was a belief Waterman’s parents instilled in her years ago. When she was in Grade 8, she, along with her sister, Emma, and her mom raised money to build a school in Haiti. The three then got on a plane to see their efforts in action.

“We played with the kids, gave them some food and water, and helped them rebuild their school,” says Waterman. They helped develop a plan to make the villagers most self-sufficient, providing teachers the tools they’d need to keep school in session long after the guests left. “I was pretty young,” says Waterman. “People thought my mom was crazy for taking me out there, but it was definitely a great experience.”

Family time followed more leisurely paths as well. Waterman still fondly recalls her parents taking her and her three siblings skating every Sunday afternoon. They couldn’t have known they were raising a family of goaltenders: butterfly-style Emma, stand-up Philippe and Brianne, who plays a hybrid of the two.

As part of a leadership class at school Waterman has been a volunteer goalie coach for her younger brother the past two years. “He was a little bit stubborn sometimes because he didn’t want to listen to his older sister and he knows best and blah, blah, blah,” she says, laughing. “I think he learned quite a bit – he doesn’t want to admit it.”

In a way Waterman was just carrying on another family tradition. Her on-ice career began as a ringette player, where she won her first provincial championship. When the Bantam A team in Riverview, N.B., needed a goalie for the 2010-11 season Waterman decided to add hockey to her extra-curricular activities. With a lack of minor hockey goalie coaches in the area, Bill took his daughter’s training into his own hands.

Having never played the position himself, he took a teach-the-trainer program at a local goaltending school.  He took what he learned and got on the ice to show his daughter how to read angles, move around the crease and lead her through drills such as the crabwalk and the four-square shuffle.

“Oh, so many times with those drills,” says Brianne. “I got to say I’m kind of a pro at those now.”

The repetition paid off, as two years after taking up hockey Waterman made the jump to the Moncton Rockets, a Midget AAA team.
She’ll close out her minor hockey career with the team this week at the 2015 Esso Cup.

Last year the Rockets went 1-4 in Stoney Creek, Ont., but for Waterman the off-ice memories with her team outweigh the on-ice disappointment.

“Even after a loss we’d still cheer on the bus and try not to be too discouraged by it.”

After work responsibilities kept Bill and Francine at home last year, live streaming their daughter’s games on the Hockey Canada website, both are at the Esso Cup this time around.
“This year I’ve made sure that I’m doing my exam early,” says Bill, a professor at Mount Allison University. “I’ll be marking while I’m there in Red Deer.”

They want a front-row seat to cheer their daughter on one more time before she leaves one defensive zone for another.

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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