Ask a teammate or coach to concisely describe senior women’s hockey captain Becky Irvine and they will agree that she is small, perhaps undersized, but very mighty. At 5’4”, Irvine’s size is greatly deceiving, since she makes up for her stature with blazing speed and great hockey instincts.
She put those skills to use and arguably had her best all-around year this season, which ended in a Raider ECACHL Tournament berth. Over her four years, she played in a remarkable 136 games and notched 48 goals to go along with 59 assists. For her efforts, Irvine received the Don Palmateer Award, which is given to the Colgate player whose leadership, inspiration and performance on and off the ice during her career has had the greatest impact on the team. Earlier in the hockey season, she showed that excellence as a member of the Canadian Under-22 team and the ECACHL All-Star team that challenged the U.S. National team in an exhibition contest.
The humble Lakeview, Nova Scotia, native credits her teammates for all of her individual feats.
“There is no way I would have been able to accomplish any of this without my team and coaches,” she said. “Of course, I am proud of what I have achieved, but how far my team has come and what we have accomplished in the past four years is what I am most proud of. When a group of girls all contribute to one program, it’s amazing to see what they can accomplish together.”
Success did not come immediately or naturally for the senior captain, as she had to work for everything she has attained. Off the ice, you could always find her in the weight room or watching film.
“I have had to do a lot of extra work in order to compete at this level,” Irvine said. “We lift, run, bike and do agility training during the season and in the offseason, all of which is important in our individual success. A lot of hours and hard work has brought me to the level of play I ended off with.”
Irvine attributes her growth as a player to the entire hockey team.
“My teammates and coaches have been there for me throughout my four years here; regardless of whether it was a good or bad game, they were there to support me,” she said. “Also, knowing you are competing against some of the top players in the nation allows you to get psyched for these games.”
As far as memorable experiences are concerned, Irvine has a familiar opponent in mind.
“A lot have come from games against St. Lawrence,” she said. “We beat them in the playoffs my sophomore year, and in the regular season this season. During this year’s victory, we scored three shorthanded goals and held them scoreless.”
Given the dedication, hard work and effort it takes to become a player of Irvine’s caliber, it left little room to expand her interests and pursue some hobbies. Nevertheless, she made the most of her valuable free time off the ice by finding a possible career occupation.
“In Independent studies I have done in the past couple of years, I have had the chance to work with children from both Hamilton and Sherburne-Earlville,” she said. “Both experiences have been great for me and pushed me in the direction of possibly teaching.”
Although she may be learning towards pursuing a career in education, don’t write off her hockey career just yet. After graduation, she may make her way back to Canada and play another season. If not, she hope to stay in the U.S. and coach hockey.
Once the inevitable day arrives when she hangs up her skates for the final time, she will walk off the ice a proven leader and winner.
“I have learned so much from Colgate hockey,” Irvine said. “I have had the opportunity to be a leader on our team, which has made me a stronger person. In the process, I have created friendships with my teammates that I will never be able to replace and I have been able to watch both myself and my team mature over the years.”