The Ontario Tech Ridgebacks women’s hockey team bolstered its defence this year with the addition of former NCAA Division-I standout Bailey Oakes.
The former Maine Black Bear transferred to Ontario Tech in the off-season after an injury-plagued rookie year and coaching changes at Maine.
Oakes, who is from Keswick, felt the coach’s new system did not match her skill set and put her name on a list of athletes looking to transfer in search of a better fit.
“The new coaches came in and made it very clear from around September that they didn’t like my style of play and whatever their issues with that were, I decided to redshirt,” she said, referring to the decision to take a year off.
The Communication and Digital Media Studies major says Ontario Tech’s coaches made it clear to Oakes they loved her as a player and were going to give her every opportunity to be successful.
Ridgebacks head coach Justin Caruana says he recruited Oakes for her experience and stability. “ We are extremely happy to have her,” he said.
Oakes and the rest of the team are hoping to turn the Ontario Tech women’s program around. The women’s team currently sits at 2-9 and has rarely made the playoffs.
“Personally, my goal is to have a good plus minus of at least zero or better and just really work on me as a defenceman,” she said.
The Ridgebacks as a team have made it their goal to make the playoffs and believe they are in a good position to accomplish what they’ve set out to do.
“Every game we’re getting way better and I think if we continue on that path then we have a very good chance,” she said.
Oakes said she’s grateful for the opportunity Ontario Tech has provided her and feels welcomed by teammates and coaches.