KayCyn Hernandez Earns Her Spot At Windsor

KayCyn Hernandez hockey
KayCyn Hernandez with the Windsor Lancers – Photo by Evaporated Photos

KayCyn Hernandez earned her spot every time she touched the ice this season with the University of Windsor Lancers women’s hockey team.

The Harrow, Ontario product, and former captain of the Chatham Outlaws Midget ‘AA’ team was a walk on tryout for the Lancers, but made the most of the opportunity, and ended up playing 15 games as a first year player in the OUA.

“I was extremely happy with my first season,” said Hernandez. “The speed and physicality at the OUA level is a large step up from that at the Midget ‘AA’ level. My transition from club to university hockey was definitely challenging, but I had an amazing group of girls that helped me adjust to balancing my on and off-ice performance along with my academic schedule.”

Hernandez played both forward and defense during the year, scoring her first OUA goal, and learning as much off the ice as on. While success didn’t come readily for the Lancers, Hernandez and her teammates know it’s about the process.

“Although this team has not had success in previous seasons, my team acknowledges that a championship will not come overnight or without hard work. This year we focused on developing good team culture and various habits that benefit our game. This group of girls was great and team culture came almost instantly. Developing habits and disciplines was a year long process but these simple, yet important ideals, such as multiple players attacking the net and having a quick shot release, helped increase scoring opportunities as the season went on.”

Although Hernandez is thrilled for the new challenge and adventure of playing for the Windsor Lancers, she still looks back at her time with the Chatham Outlaws fondly.

“Looking back at my time in Chatham, some of my favourite memories are at tournaments. Being able to hang out and bond over simple things after playing a game we all love is a great feeling,” said Hernandez, who also retold a story involving dance offs at Provincials, and her belief that hockey is more than winning.

“My best years of hockey were in Chatham. I made the transition from boys to girls hockey with the Outlaws and developed my leadership skills thanks to amazing coaches, such as Kevin Sabourin,” she added of her former coach.

“I hope to give back to the community by helping other athletes accomplish their goals. This year I helped with tryouts and at some practices with the Midget ‘AA’ team. I hope to continue this in years to come. I will forever be thankful for the opportunities and growth the Chatham community and Outlaws family has given me.”

While the slow down due to COVID-19 has impacted her offseason, Hernandez is still working to improve every day.

“I am a big believer in off-ice development so I am training my hockey skills daily. I’m either shooting pucks, doing stick handling drills, or both. One of my goals for next season is to come back with improved basics, such as stickhandling, to help my team reach further success. Fitness wise, my team has been doing Zoom workouts for the past month and we are now transitioning onto our fitness app for future workouts.”

Even with the uncertainty surrounding next season, and the University of Windsor not welcoming students back to campus for classes until 2021, Hernandez is turning her focus to next season.

“This season, I was able to gain experience of what it is like to play at the OUA level. I was able to play against some of the nation’s best, like the Toronto Varsity Blues’ Erica Fryer, who is also a friend and former Outlaw. This upcoming season, I want to show more leadership within my team. Last season, I helped a few girls improve their fitness by reaching or surpassing their fitness testing scores and I hope to continue to motivate my teammates in the upcoming season. With a strong core group of girls remaining from this past season, I want to help the first years feel as welcome as I did during my transition into university hockey.”

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