Voyageurs women’s hockey team adds new talent

By: Sudbury Northern Life Staff

 | Mar 14, 2014 - 3:05 PM |
Taylor Philip is one of four new additions to the Laurentian Voyageur's women's hockey team. Supplied photo.

Taylor Philip is one of four new additions to the Laurentian Voyageur's women's hockey team. Supplied photo.

The Laurentian Voyageurs women’s hockey team has added four new members to the squad.

Forwards Taylor Philip and Melissa Millar join defencemen Sara Habal and Madison Brown on the team.

Philip is going to be enrolled in the nursing program at Laurentian and will be bringing a wealth of success and leadership to the team.

The assistant captain for both her Bluewater Jr. Hawks team in the PWHL and her Medway Cowboys high school team, Philip finished tied for third in scoring on a Hawks team who are two years removed from a provincial championship and she led the Cowboys to a WOSSA championship and the school’s first ever OFSAA appearance this season.

For Philip, it’s the tight-knit sense of community that helped Philip make her final decision about where to attend school.

“I chose Laurentian because I loved everything about it, from the small community feel to the up-north feeling you get being surrounded by the lakes. I know going to Laurentian will give me opportunities to better myself as a hockey player and a student. The coach and the girls I met were all very welcoming and the support that everyone showed towards the school was great.”

Head coach Stacey Colarossi is excited to incorporate Philip’s offensive prowess into the Voyageurs’ lineup.

“Taylor is a strong two-way forward who will bring depth on our special teams play. Taylor reads the ice well and has a solid hockey IQ, which will assist in our success on our power play and penalty kill. She distributes the puck well and will be a key player in adding offence to our current roster.”

Millar, who will be enrolled in the sport and physical education program at Laurentian in September, is the first of a trio of Stoney Creek Sabres to commit to the Voyageurs. She brings with her a very defensive-minded game, but she still has a nose for the net in the offensive zone, which can be attested by her current point-per-game average in the PWHL playoffs.

Millar picked up the game of hockey relatively late, not stepping on the ice until the age of 10. It didn’t take her long to develop, however, as she was a part of a league champion and Silver Stick champion just four years into her career before earning a spot on the Sabres.

The tight-knit fabric of the team is what helped Millar commit to the Voyageurs.

“I love being part of a team,” the 5-8 forward said. “It’s like having a second family. That’s why I chose Laurentian, because there is a real sense of community around the campus and I am excited to be a part of that.”

“Melissa is a player who is willing to go into any role requested of her and will work hard and play physical over 200 feet,” said Colarossi. “Her team-first mentality continues to build on the foundation we strive to develop in building a national championship contending program. She is a fluent skater who will add size and power up front on our forecheck."

Habal will be joining the Voyageurs out of the Sabres organization as well. She will be enrolled in the sport and physical education program in the fall.

At 5-9, Habal adds some size to the defensive corps and will be looked upon to calm things down in her own zone.

When it comes to the game, Habal looks at an often overlooked aspect of the sport.

“I love hockey for the fact that while you are working on your speed, fitness and skill, at the end of the day you are playing a game and there is so much fun in that.”

Colarossi appreciates the game that Habal brings to the table and plans to build around it.

"Sara adds some required size to our young defensive group. She is a stay at home defenceman who makes the steady, simple play and plays a consistent game for a young player. This is a great attribute that we will build on in her game. Her calm demeanour and defensive-zone poise should allow some of our more offensive-minded players to fall into an attacking role which is more suited for them."

Also on the blue-line, Colarossi is adding Madison Brown who is currently an assistant captain for her Stoney Creek squad. The future sport and physical education student was a member of the Sabres last season when they won a bronze medal at the provincial championships and has been a familiar face on the provincial scene, earning Team Ontario tryouts in each of the past two seasons.

For Brown, it was the whole package that helped her decide on becoming a Voyageur.

“I started looking for schools that had both a great hockey program and concurrent education programs. When I found Laurentian and then met Stacey, I knew this was where I wanted to be. Sudbury had a great feel; not too big, not too small and a little bit country.”

Colarossi sees a lot of promise in the young defenceman.

“Maddy is a great addition to our defensive group. Her skating ability and puck poise will certainly improve our depth on the back end and push those around her to continue to compete each day. Maddy makes a strong first pass from her zone, but also has the poise and ability to start the rush and create opportunities for our forwards in the offensive zone.”

On the whole, Colarossi is excited with the new additions to the team for next season.

“After the foundation and expectations set by our group this past season, these players bring many skills required for our team to continue to grow in the right direction. I look forward to seeing them on the ice in the fall as I feel they will enhance the depth of our team”

The newest Voyageurs will meet up with their teammates as training camp opens up at the end of August.

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