Langtry now looking ahead to NCAA stint
This past week in Charlottetown, P.E.I. was a memorable experience in more ways than one for former Muskie forward Jillian Langtry.
Not only was the 17-year-old Fort Frances native a key contributor to the Thunder Bay Queens’ silver-medal showing at the Esso Cup women’s Midget national championship, but she also signed a letter of intent to play next season with the University of Maine Black Bears of the NCAA.
“And to commit to the University of Maine is quite a great feeling as it’s always been a goal of mine to play in Division I hockey, and now I’m finally there,” she added.
After spending the previous three seasons with the black-and-gold, Langtry tried out for the Queens in Thunder Bay last May and made the squad.
“I’m not trying to say that the Muskies program isn’t a good program or anything like that, as I had a great time at Fort High playing with the girls,” she stressed.
“But I felt like I was ready to move onto a higher calibre level of hockey.
“There were two days of tryouts that everyone was taking part in,” Langtry noted.
“And after about the second or third practice session, the coaches told me that I had made the final team, so I was really excited about that.”
Having ran roughshod through her NorWOSSA opponents while playing at Fort High, Langtry had to adjust to the tougher competition in the Midget ranks from both Canada and the United States that the Queens go up against.
“The competition was a lot different than I was used to, but I really enjoyed making that transition from playing high school hockey to playing for the Queens,” she remarked.
But Langtry’s transition process came to an abrupt halt in early October when she broke her right ankle in a freak practice mishap.
“We were doing a race during one of our practices and when I went to turn backwards, the ankle just snapped,” she recalled.
“I had the cast on for about six weeks, but I ended up actually coming back a month earlier than I originally thought I would thanks to the help of my physiotherapist and I had my first game after the injury in December.”
Once she returned from the injury, Langtry played a key part in helping the Queens advance to the provincial Midget championships in Toronto in mid-April, where they went unbeaten prior to blanking the Waterloo Ravens 5-0 in the final.
“To win every game that we played in while we were there was really something,” said Langtry, who scored a goal in the final.
“It was such an amazing experience, and to know that we were going to be in the national championships and play in Prince Edward Island was something that was really exciting for us,” she added.
Although this year’s Esso Cup marked Langtry’s first trip to the national Midget championship, she was able to feed off the veteran leadership of the team as captain Michela Cava and assistants Brianna Iazzolino, Kaitlyn Tougas, and Michaela Coulter among those returning from the 2010 national champion squad.
“They helped me out a lot,” Langtry said.
“Having those players on the team, who had already experienced the tournament, was really helpful for the new players like myself as they told us how hard the competition was going to be there, but also how great it was going to be.”
During the national tournament, Langtry was a key part to the Queens’ high-powered offensive attack, finishing up the week with five goals and four assists to sit tied for fifth in scoring with nine points.
“I thought that I had a good tournament,” she remarked.
“Going into the tournament, I felt a little bit nervous actually,” she admitted. “But as soon as I got out on the ice, it was the experience of a lifetime.”
But after going unbeaten through the round-robin, then rallying to beat Metro Boston Pizza (Halifax) in the semi-finals Friday, the Queens’ offence was shut down by Pembina Valley Hawks’ goalie Brittini Mowat in Saturday’s final as the Morden, Man. crew captured the Esso Cup with a 4-2 victory.
“Their goalie was solid all game long,” Langtry recalled. “But they [Pembina] really wanted to win that game and they all played quite well.”
With her season with the Queens now over, Langtry will be returning to Fort High to finish off her Grade 12 year before she heads to Orono, Maine in August to begin her time with the Black Bears.
“It’s far away from home, for sure, but it will be worth it,” said Langtry, who will have a full-ride scholarship for her first year at Maine and plans to study education.
“When I went to the campus for my official visit, the coaches were great and so easy-going,” she noted. “And they were also looking for the type of player that I am, which was nice.
“I also got to meet the girls who are on the team when I went there, who were all great, and the campus itself is located in such a beautiful place,” she added.
While the NCAA ranks are an entirely different animal compared to where Langtry has played before, she feels her season with the Queens will help as she steps up to a higher level of play.
“I know that it’s going to be a big step up when I get into Division I,” she conceded. “But I feel that my year with the Queens will be a big help in making that transition.”
In addition to the support of friends and family in Fort Frances during the course of the season, Langtry also was appreciative of the support of her sponsors for the Queens, which were Lakewood Tire, Degagne Equipment, MacDonald Motors, and her grandparents, Gerald and Laurel Langtry.