By Gracie Brison
Women’s hockey head coach, Lisa Haley, is committed to both the Rams and the U18 women’s national team, who played their world championship in St. Catherine’s this past weekend. Though struggling to balance her time between the two, Haley sees the benefits for her Rams players in taking on the opportunity to coach at the national level.
From a small town called Westville in Nova Scotia, Haley grew up chasing around her two older brothers on their backyard hockey rink. By age four, she knew that hockey was her calling. Haley took her love for the sport from her backyard to Concordia’s rink where she played for five years. Upon graduating, Haley took a job as an athletic therapist at St. Mary’s University in Halifax, a school that was interested in starting a female hockey program. The athletic director offered Haley a coaching position and her career took off from there.
“I honestly didn’t intend to get into coaching as a profession; it kind of evolved naturally,” said Coach Haley. “I’m pretty fortunate as to how it turned into a career.”
But the evolution of her coaching career doesn’t stop at University level puck. From the Rams, to coach of the 2014 Olympic gold medal team, and now the U18 women’s national team, Haley’s coaching expertise is in high demand in the hockey world. Though she is struggling to balance her time, Haley constantly has the Rams on her mind. She recognizes how hard her coaching staff is working to make up for her absence, but hopes that this opportunity will benefit the Rams.
“I’m pretty attached to all of my players and coaching staff and it’s not easy to be away,” said Haley. “But this is such a great opportunity as well and it always results in me becoming a better coach myself which is, in the long term, beneficial for my Ryerson Rams team.”
Considering Haley’s dedication to her Rams team, one would think that Rye is her top priority. They may be number one in her heart, but a mutual understanding supports other endeavours. Prior to Haley signing as head coach, an agreement was made that Ryerson had to support Coach Haley’s opportunities with Hockey Canada. Yet she always seems to do what benefits her Rams family.
“We review the schedule, what impact it’s going to be in terms of my commitment at Ryerson, and if it seems like it’s a reasonable thing and it’s a beneficial thing for all of us, then we go ahead and I make the commitment to Hockey Canada,” said Haley.
Her current commitment to the U18 women’s national team is nothing shy of success. Representing Canada this past weekend at the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) World Women’s U18 Championships, Haley’s team brought home a silver medal. After a 4-0 win against Russia in the semi-final match, Canada lost in the final 3-2 against the United States in over time.
A small town girl with a big dream, Lisa Haley is constantly improving her coaching skills. Bringing back new advice and strategies for the Rams, Haley is taking full advantage of the opportunity to coach the national women’s team. To see the wonders that Haley has worked on the Rams, see the girls take on the York Lions Friday night at 7:30 at the MAC.