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HomeNewsCommunityOntario Tech Ridgebacks goalie in top spot for stops

Ontario Tech Ridgebacks goalie in top spot for stops

When Zoe McGee and her brother played hockey as kids in their hometown of Kanata, Ont., he would always send her to the net to let him practice his shots.

She quickly learned while playing with her brother that she didn’t like taking shots on net. She’d much rather stop them.

When she started playing house league at around six or seven years old, players often took turns as player and goalie.

McGee got a quick feel for playing the position, and before she knew it, she played the entire second of half of her first season of hockey in this role.

Today she is a standout goalie with the Ridgebacks. McGee plays on a “tight knit” team of 27 women for Ontario Tech University, facing off against other universities from Toronto, Windsor, Laurier, Queen’s and Waterloo.

McGee, who says she stops around 30 shots a game, recently became the goalie with the most saves for women’s hockey in Ontario, according to the U Sports website.

She is ranked 4th in the league with 692 saves this season.

“It was really cool to see my name up there with the best goalies in Canada, and it’s obviously really rewarding,” she said.

A goalie reaches out to make a save.
McGee says she stops somewhere around 30 shots per game. According to StatMuse, this season goalies in the NHL save an average of 25.68 shots per game. Photo credit: Gage Patte

McGee is in her third year studying Kinesiology at Ontario Tech University. She lives with three of her teammates in a house together and they rarely spend time apart, which she says builds a strong relationship on the team.

“It makes it a lot more fun because you’re around people that are going through the exact same thing as you, so it really helps having them around as support,” she said.

That same energy carries over onto the team. She says the passion for the game and the team are unlike what she saw playing minor and junior hockey.

“When people get to university, they’re here to play hockey and to do school, so it’s super fun having people that are just as serious about the game.”

The women’s hockey team is on a six game losing streak, but McGee says that even after facing these losses, they’ve gotten better at taking things in stride.

“Every team has their ups and downs,” she said. “I think my team’s gotten a lot better at bringing the energy up on the bench, even when we’re playing against a really good team.”

A women's hockey team sits on the bench along the edge of an arena.
Zoe McGee says she has one more year of eligibility to play for Ontario Tech after she graduates her program. Her coach, Justin Caruana, says there are opportunities to play in the Professional Women's Hockey League (PWHL). Photo credit: Gage Patte

Justin Caruana has been head coach of the women’s hockey team for nine years, and says he’s been coaching McGee for three years.

“She’s passionate, she’s energetic, she’s just a true competitor, she doesn’t like losing, she doesn’t like getting scored on,” he said. “She’s just always trying to better herself. She’s always trying to improve. She’s just someone that loves being at the rink and as a coach, you love having her around because she’s great for the girls.”

The Ontario Tech Ridgebacks women’s hockey team next faces off against York Lions in Toronto on Feb. 15.