Athlete of the month looks forward to playoffs

Kelty Apperson said it’s a special feeling to be named St. Thomas University Coastal Graphics Athlete of the Month for January.

“It’s always nice to be recognized for the hard work,” she said. “But I only received this award due to my team. They are always pushing me to be improving, so their support has allowed me to find success on the ice.”

Apperson, a fourth-year student and captain of the women’s hockey team is second in the Atlantic University Sport scoring race with 22 points.

The Tommies are ranked seventh in Canadian Interuniversity Sports and sit in third place in the Atlantic University Sports with a record of 12-7-1.

She said the women’s hockey team’s success has everything to do with her being recognized as Athlete of the Month.

“The success that I have been having is a result of the team’s success,” Apperson said. “We all put in a lot of hard work and it has really been paying off for us.”

Apperson from New Hamburg, Ont., has played hockey for as long as she can remember. Her family is passionate about hockey and has always played the sport.

“I started on (my) older sister’s team playing as an under-ager. I have four other siblings and we all play hockey,” she said. “Three of us play at the university level, one plays Junior A, and one still plays in a recreational league.”

Apperson said what fuels her love for the sport is the challenge hockey provides, and to her, that’s what makes it fun.

“You have to work hard to find success in the sport,” she said. “It is so transferrable to life. It helps shape you as a person through adversities you face, the connections you build and the work ethic that is needed to play it.”

In the past she had been at a hockey boarding school in Saskatchewan. When she was recruited to STU’s hockey team, she had not heard of STU or been to the Maritimes.

“It wasn’t so much the hockey once I toured here,” Apperson said. “Seeing the small campus, talking to people from the school, exploring the Fredericton community, it felt like it was going to be a place that I was going to be fortunate enough to call home, and hockey was just the bonus.”

She is thank-full for her decision. She remembers the most triumphant moment of her hockey career during the Nationals in her second-year which STU hosted in 2014.

“The crowd was electric,” she said. “Although we did have the ideal outcome, the feeling of playing on STU’s ice with your family members cheering you on is unbeatable.”

Apperson said Head Coach Peter Murphy and the hockey program provided her with opportunities to not only develop as a player, but as a person over the course of her four years at STU.

“It has given me the chance to take on a leadership role and really be able to constantly learn how to be better and (find) ways for improvement,” she said.

The regular season is almost over, but Apperson hopes the season does not end just yet. The team is headed for playoffs, and she is looking forward to playing those high intensity games and closing the season on a good note.

“Playoff games are so much fun to play in,” she said. “This year I think we have a team that knows what it will take to make it all the way.”

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