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The Dartmouth
February 24, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

Sekela '01 stars on hockey team

Although there are many stories behind the Dartmouth women's ice hockey team and their successful run this season, perhaps one of the quieter ones has been that of junior co-captain Carrie Sekela. After tallying 14 goals and 13 assists as a sophomore for the Big Green last year, it was clear that the forward from Mississauga, Ontario could skate with the best college hockey had to offer.

Carrie has been around hockey all her life. She first started playing hockey when she was four years old, after watching her older brother and sister play.

"I kept getting dragged to the rink to watch my brother and sister play and I just fell in love with it," she recalled on Tuesday at Collis. "Being Canadian, it's all around you."

And so a star was born. "My parents were really supportive. It really is the thing to do there. Everyone plays hockey or figure skates. My mom asked me one time whether I wanted to play hockey or figure skate and I said there was no way [that I would do figure skating.] I wanted to do what my brother and sister did."

Carrie would find success early and often, winning five provincial titles with her youth club team and being named MVP of her high school team twice. Sekela would also spend two years with the prestigious Newtonbrook Panthers Senior AAA team.

Her success on the ice was paralleled by success in the classroom. In no time, Carrie faced the decision of where to attend college. "It was basically a question of which country did I want to be in to play hockey. It didn't even my mind that I would be playing hockey in college," Sekela said. "Everyone tries to go as far as they can with hockey and college was definitely that next step."

"I had narrowed it down to here and Cornell but when I came here on my visit and I saw people skating around Occum pond, I knew this was the place I wanted to be."

As a freshman, Sekela was a little nervous, but jumped at the chance to be on the ice for two hours every day. "It's something you don't have on a travel team, you get maybe two games a week if you're lucky and one practiceso [to come here and] have only one day offit's the best thing. You couldn't ask for more," Carrie said of her practice schedule. "When you're on the ice everyday and you can grow and learn so much more."

Carrie and the Big Green have developed over the past two years under the tutelage of Dartmouth coaching legend George Crowe and second year coach Judy Parish Oberting. Carrie has nothing but praise for both coaches, acknowledging that both have made the team work hard for their success.

"[Coach Oberting] knows exactly what it's like to juggle your academics with hockey and she's done it. [It helps because] she hasn't just been to some Ivy school, she's been to this Ivy school. It's great to have a coach who knows exactly what it's like to be a student [here]."

After a 16-9-5 record last year, the Big Green had high hopes for the 1999-2000 campaign. "I heard there were some good kids, coming in this year but you don't really know until you get out there [but] before our first game, we knew we would be pretty good," Sekela commented. "We had some pretty good players who could step it up immediately."

The season started off well for Sekela and the Big Green, Dartmouth would win five of their first seven matches. Carrie tallied two goals and four assists in that seven game span, showing the beginnings of a stellar season. Unfortunately, her season come to a grinding halt on Saturday, December 11, 1999.

"It was my first shift I skated across the ice, turned around, skated back and the puck was bouncing, I was looking behind me and I got hit," said Sekela as she recalled her injury. " I felt my leg bend in the wrong place. They first thought it was a sprain, but I went to go get X-rays the next morning and sure enough, it was broken."

The broken leg she would suffer in December would keep her sidelined for the next 17 matches. "It was the longest I've ever been out from hockey," said Carrie. "Even during the off-season, I have never not been on the ice for two months, so it was hard."

The great thing about great players is that you can't keep them down. "I was itching to get back. I didn't even know if I be back this season, really [but] every time I went out on the ice it got better I knew I was ready to go as soon as I didn't feel scared."

After a 17-game absence, Sekela rejoined the team for their February 19th game against Maine. Dartmouth was battling for first place in the ECAC and wanted a two-win weekend. Carrie wasted no time proving that she was ready to play by scoring two goals in the first period, and leading her team to a 4-0 victory over the Black Bears.

It looked like smooth sailing for the Big Green as the traveled to Durham to face the Wildcats of UNH the following day. Dartmouth, who had already defeated UNH 4-1 earlier in the season, thought they could repeat that performance. However, UNH had other plans, and defeated the Big Green soundly, 5-1.

Still, Sekela and the Big Green remain optimistic about their final week of the season. They will face off against Northeastern and Providence. Northeastern will be the marquee match-up of the weekend.

Since two Dartmouth wins will assure Dartmouth home ice in the first round of the playoffs, the Big Green are considering this one of their biggest weekends. Carrie Sekela and the rest of the women's ice hockey team know they need to take the rest of their season day by day.