Sudbury

Lady Wolves hockey player Madisyn Papineau commits to NCAA university

A handful of players with the Sudbury Lady Wolves girls midget hockey team have announced commitments to join university programs in the coming years.

Rising star says academics still more important than hockey

Sudbury's Madisyn Papineau, who plays for the Sudbury Lady Wolves midget team, has committed to join the Division 1 NCAA program at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) in Troy, New York. (Benjamin Aubé/CBC)

The Sudbury Lady Wolves are making some noise off the ice.

A handful of players with the girls' midget 'AA' hockey team have announced commitments to join university programs in the coming years.

Among them, Lady Wolves forward Madisyn Papineau has chosen to go the NCAA route, announcing her commitment late last week to join the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) Engineers' Division 1 hockey program.

"Ever since I was little, playing Division 1 [NCAA hockey] was obviously the dream," says Papineau.

At just 16 years of age, Papineau has been offered a scholarship to join RPI in 2020.

And though the sport is close to her heart, Papineau says academics were the most important part of the decision. She's planning on studying biomedical engineering, or a similar field.

She just has to maintain her grades and work on her game with the Lady Wolves until then.

"It just came down to the program is all it was in the end. They had the program I was really interested in. It just felt so right, I could see myself living there," explains Papineau.

Papineau qualifies herself as a playmaking forward. She says she's equally comfortable playing centre or the wing — a coach's dream, some might say.

Her parents, Wendy and Rob, say that versatility and ability to fit into any situation has worked to Madisyn's advantage.

Wendy and Rob Papineau are Madisyn Papineau's parents.

As the general manager of the Ontario Hockey League's Sudbury Wolves, Rob knows the sport and what makes its athletes successful quite well.

"Right from the time Madi's been little, she's been super competitive," notes Rob. "What I love about the girls game is it sort of taught her at a young age how to be goal-oriented.

"I don't know, without the Lady Wolves and Sudbury Girls Hockey, whether she would have had the ability to understand what that even meant. It's just good to see everything that she's always talked about as a young girl growing up happen right in front of you."

Choices on both sides of border

Two of Papineau's Sudbury teammates, Taylor Scott and Mylene Lefebvre, have committed to join U-Sports hockey teams in Canada — Scott with the University of Ottawa Gee-Gees, and Lefebvre with the University of Montreal Carabins.

Papineau also strongly considered the U-Sports option, but felt the NCAA was the right choice for her.

"You have a lot of girls taking the Canadian path and it's just as good as the American [path] now. They have great hockey here as well. Just getting to university is probably the goal for a lot of us," she said.

The Lady Wolves have a competitive girls hockey team from the novice level up to midget.

Papineau credits the program for giving her and her teammates a solid foundation to reach the next level, as well as new postsecondary opportunities.

"I think it's awesome too, we grow up playing together here. In Toronto you're not always, together, you're kind of all over the place, they switch teams so I think that's awesome for us. We've had that chemistry ever since we've been little," she said.

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