By Josh Howald
Somebody from Kincardine won an OFSAA girls hockey championship.
Appleby coach Margot Page shares a moment with Hannah Davidson of KDSS after an OFSAA semi-final game Friday morning in Stratford. Page's team beat Kincardine 5-2, and went undefated at the provincial tournament to claim an OFSAA gold. (Josh Howald photo)
Margot (Verlaan) Page coached Appleby College to a provincial championship Friday evening with a 5-3 win over St. Theresa Secondary School from the Trenton area.
Verlaan, a former member of the Tiverton Big Reds, has coached with Hockey Canada at the 2006 Olympics and spent 11 years coaching Niagara University of the NCAA. She also spent time as head coach of Canada’s under-22 national team, and is in her second year at Appleby.
“I’ve done a lot of coaching, but I think I’ve really found my niche,” said Page Friday afternoon, after her team defeated Kincardine District Secondary School in the OFSAA semi-finals. “I’m fortunate enough to own a farm not far (from the Oakville school), and be able to coach. There’s just enough time for me to do both.”
Unlike the vast majority of high school coaches, Page’s job is a paid position. However, she runs Appleby’s girls hockey program like an American prep school or NCAA program.
“Our goal is to show the girls post-secondary options. We tour a lot of different D-I and D-III schools and focus on the different routes and options to continue playing hockey.”
Appleby plays in the CISAA, an independent seven-team league, with games against midget AA teams sprinkled in. They entered the OFSAA tournament as the #3 seed, and rolled through the competition undefeated. They beat KDSS 5-2 in a semi-final game.
“Kincardine was really strong,” she said. “They have a very nice club, and they battled right to the end.”
Her own team played a little shorthanded – several of her players were ineligible for the OFSAA tournament because they have played games in the NWHL this season. But the players she did have were polished and highly skilled.
“At the Hockey Canada level we worked around systems – winning is important. Here, we really work on skills development, and I’ve been fortunate to have some good players,” said Page. “I really do love it.”