It’s been an easy transition for the new St. Thomas University women’s hockey player, Megan Pardy, thanks to the welcoming environment of the team.
Since the age of seven, hockey has been the biggest part of Pardy’s life, and she can’t imagine not pursuing it in university.
Pardy is from Courtice, Ontario, about a 40-minute drive from Toronto, and a long way from New Brunswick.
It is relative to the size of Fredericton, but small enough to run into several people you know just driving down the street.
“When I was in Grade One, one of my really good friends was on a house league team and she had a ‘bring a friend to practice day’ toward Christmas,” Pardy said.
“She asked me to go and then I didn’t have any equipment or anything so I had to borrow her older brother’s.”
Now, Pardy is 19-years-old and still loving the game.
Once she got to Grade 12, she went to play for the Toronto Leaside Wildcats, where she played for two years before coming to university.
In the winter of 2014, Pardy was recruited by head coach Peter Murphy to come play for STU when he saw her and Alex Woods play in a tournament in her first year as a junior.
After the game, he talked to the both of them about the school, and Murphy quickly saw Pardy as a potential future Tommie.
Murphy invited her to come and play with the Tommies and thought she would be the perfect fit.
Pardy visited St. Thomas two years ago in January and added it to the top of her list of schools to go to for university along with the University of Minnesota-Duluth.
“I liked them both equally, and Peter said if I ever chose to part from Minnesota to let him know,” Pardy said.
She attended the University of Minnesota Duluth and joined the women’s hockey team as part of the Bulldogs.
After the first semester, she found that she was not playing as much as she had hoped. The school was far away from home, as well as out of the country.
Pardy thought redirecting her choice to attend a different school for the second semester would be a better idea.
“It was probably the best to leave and try something else,” Pardy said.
“I didn’t want to end up hating hockey, and I didn’t want it to affect my academics.”
As she was deciding whether to leave Minnesota, she thought about what Peter said, and then emailed him and took up the offer.
After the decision to come to St. Thomas this semester, Pardy has found fitting in much easier.
“At my old school in Minnesota, I was a number and not a name,” Pardy said.
“It’s little things like that that made the transition easier at St. Thomas.”
Childhood classmate and friend Alex Woods has been with Pardy through her transition from school to school, and even lives in the same area.
Pardy is thankful to have a familiar face at STU to help her feel like she fits in, and it has certainly helped with the process of adjusting.
“It’s challenging to open up and be yourself, I’m a pretty outgoing and loud person, but at my old school [in Minnesota], they thought I was so quiet until November because it was so awkward,” Pardy said.
So far, St. Thomas has exceeded her expectations, offering the ideal courses for her to pursue her psychology and criminology majors, as well as a possible minor in French or sociology.
The women’s hockey team is currently third in the league, and Pardy has her eye on the prize. She would like to see the team make it to nationals.
“I wanted to go somewhere I was valued as a player, just like all of the other people,” Pardy said. “STU makes you feel like you belong a lot more.”