Geology grad and ACC Cougar women’s hockey forward Brittany Phillips is no stranger to precious metal.
The Lauder-born 23-year-old has laced up her skates on her fair share of international rinks.
She wore Canada’s colours and took home a silver medal with the national under-18 women’s team in the world championships in 2009 and earned herself a full-ride NCAA scholarship to play women’s hockey for the Colgate University Raiders in Hamilton, N.Y.
After a highly successful hockey career, Phillips has settled herself back in Westman, working for Tundra Oil and Gas as a student battery operator, but she isn’t off the ice yet.
Though not a student of Assiniboine Community College, she has been lacing up for the Cougars, who are hosting the Provincial Senior Women’s Hockey Championships that began last night.
"They run a nice program and they want to win," she said. "I’m just looking to play with girls that want to play hockey."
She, along with other players, brings to the team a depth of elite-level playing experience. While wearing the ‘A’ on her chest in the 2012-13 NCAA season, she led Colgate in total points and goals scored with 26 overall points on 18 goals (tied for fifth place in the school program’s history) and eight assists. Phillips also broke Colgate’s power-play goal record with nine in her senior season.
To cap off the NCAA career, Phillips was named offensive player of the year during that season for her outstanding play, all while wrapping up her degree in geology at the school.
"It was a really great experience, it’s a privilege to be able to play hockey and go to school at the same time, so it was a really nice experience," she said.
Back at home, while playing for Team Manitoba in 2008, she tried out and successfully carved a spot for herself on Team Canada.
Up against the U.S. team in the finals of the world championship in Füssen, Germany, in 2009, Phillips was part of the team that took home the second silver medal in a row after falling 3-2 in overtime.
"When I went to Germany to play in the tournament there, it was a really neat experience," she said. "It’s a different culture of hockey over there, it’s exciting, it’s nice to play in a different area and it’s cool to play against players that are speaking a different language."
Last night, the host Cougars went up against the Winnipeg Aces to begin the tournament, after recently beating the Minnedosa Wild twice, the Brandon Bandits once and splitting a pair of games with the Winnipeg Rage II. However, only the Bandits are in ACC’s division for the first round, which also includes the Aces.
"I think we’ll see a lot more competition out of the teams that we have played already since it’s at the provincial level," Phillips said.
After playing exhibition games against teams from the Manitoba Junior Women’s Hockey League as well as other college club teams and senior women’s squads, the Cougars went into the tournament 12-11-2 this season.
The Cougars, who are competing in the Senior B category, have a roller-coaster history at provincials, winning bronze three years ago, getting swept in 2012 and losing in the consolation final of last year’s outing.
Nine teams are vying to represent the province at the Western Canadian Championships.
Winning teams from both the Senior A and B categories go on to represent the province at the Western Canadian Shield, scheduled for April 10-13 in Red Deer, Alta.