After a short stint playing professionally overseas, a veteran Bison is coming home to the Prairies.
Long-time U of M Bisons women’s hockey team goaltender Amanda Schubert will rejoin the herd to play out her final year of eligibility in the 2019-20 season.fter a short stint playing professionally overseas, a veteran Bison is coming home to the Prairies.
Previously the Winnipeg-born netminder played the 2017-18 season with KJT of Finland’s Liiga Women, returning to Winnipeg to coach at the Rink Hockey Academy during the 2018-19 season. The decision to come back to the Bisons, though, was a no-brainer for Schubert.
“I just wanted to keep playing hockey,” she said.
“Coaching is great and I love the game, but I don’t think I was fully ready to give up playing. And I think that was a big part of it, the whole dressing room atmosphere, the game, just competitive hockey.
“I love those things and that’s something I missed […] It’s cool that this opportunity came up and it’s something I couldn’t say not to or wouldn’t say no to.
“You can only do it for so long and time goes so fast and this doesn’t happen every day.”
The process behind her return was fairly simple. She knew the herd had lost much of its goaltending depth with the departures of Lauren Taraschuk and Devan Johnson, and all it took was a text to Bisons assistant coach Sean Fisher.
Although the exchange and all thought of a return started as a bit of a joke, Fisher got Schubert to contact head coach Jon Rempel, and from there it got real.
“We were just playing it off and then I was like ‘I kind of want to see what Jon says’ and he was like ‘If you’re serious we should meet up,’” she said.
Their face-to-face meeting lasted a couple hours and by the end Schubert was back in the fold.
Rempel expressed interest in having a veteran presence in the dressing room, with the herd getting significantly younger and greener in the upcoming season.
A large part of Schubert’s role with the team in her final year will undoubtedly be mentoring rookie netminder Kaitlyn Nault, and second-year backstop Erin Fargey. But Schubert is not coming back to the herd just to be a mentor.
“I’m just going to work hard, and I know I really only have a year left so there’s nothing left to lose for me,” Schubert said.
She will likely be relied on heavily for her professional experience.
This experience is also something Schubert says will help her readjust to competitive hockey after a year off.
“I think that it was just the mindset of going out [on the ice] and you had nothing to lose,” she said.
“I think that’s a mindset we can have [on the Bisons].”
“I mean, facing as many shots as I did when I was out there definitely helped, but more than skill-wise it was more of a mindset that I think I’m coming back with” Schubert said.
Schubert’s familiarity with the Manitoba coaching staff will also be a benefit, especially her close relationship with assistant coach — and former teammate — Venla Hovi.
“It’s nice that I know them and for Venla — knowing her on a more personal level rather than just like a coach — I think she brings a lot of good to the staff, and I think what she brings in the sense of experience is also going to be a big thing for us,” Schubert said.
Schubert herself has built quite the coaching resume, and while she is focused on playing her best game on the ice, she will remain head goalie coach with Rink Hockey Academy’s women’s program for the upcoming season.
“I’m going to be pretty busy with hockey, and one thing that I think I learned from coaching is that I learned to basically work hard,” she said.
“I don’t like when a goalie comes to an ice-time and then is slacking and making excuses as to why they can’t do whatever it is we’re asking them to do.”
The life split between playing and coaching has already seemingly paid dividends for the Bisons, as Schubert will bring a small cheering section to her games this season.
“It’ll be interesting and I already have some of my athletes telling me they’re looking forward to coming to some of the games, so that’s pretty cool.”