October is here and U of M Bisons women’s hockey team netminder Erin Fargey is ready to get the Canada West season started.
After a rookie season where the Bisons goalie from Langdon, Alta. suited up in just four games as backup to Lauren Taraschuk, the 2019-20 season will be Fargey’s time to shine. Gone is the national-champion winner in Taraschuk, and in is long-time Bisons netminder Amanda Schubert, leaving space for Fargey to jump in as the de facto starter.
But she said she is going to take it one day at a time.
“Obviously ice time isn’t given, and that goes without saying,” she said.
“So I think for me, instead of getting ideas in my head that, ‘Oh I’m going to get to play because Lauren is gone’ because that’s not necessarily the case.
“In my mind, I’m going to put my head down and I’m going to get to work. Off ice, on ice, and whatever happens, happens.”
The loss of Taraschuk at the end of the 2018-19 season did nothing to change Fargey’s summer plans. She still trained the same and is coming into the new season with the same mindset.
“I always was behind a second-year goalie and I knew that coming in,” she said.
“So for me to get playing time, it wasn’t that I just had to wait for an opportunity — like that’s going to be given eventually.
“When you have a three-goalie tandem, it’s a competition, it’s always […] a competition, and as long as it’s a healthy competition it’s fine. But you need to learn how to work hard and you’re competing against each other every single day — that is the other team to you, in some ways that is the other team.”
After a small break from the ice in the beginning of the summer, Fargey got down to her off-season training and was in the gym “as much as I possibly could be.”
For the second-year goalie, a break from the ice is a key component to her success as it helps keep her fresh and keeps her love of the game alive.
“I love the game […] so much and I would play it every single day — but over the summer if you stop playing for a bit you start to get this feeling,” Fargey said.
“At least for me, I get this feeling where I need to get back on the ice. I miss it, I miss it so bad that it makes me anxious to get back out there.
“And then I find that I play at my best when I’m super excited to be out there.”
Fargey’s new goaltending partner Schubert will have a similar level of excitement after a year away from the game and time away from the Bisons. Having an experienced partner is especially important to Fargey and the two have already formed a good relationship.
“I got to know [Schubert] a little but last year, so that was awesome, so she wasn’t a complete stranger when she came on the team,” Fargey said.
“But obviously with that expertise and that experience she can give that to me, and I think that’s huge because she’s been through it all.
“She’s had a great goaltending partner tandem — Rachel [Dyck] and her were super close, they worked awesome together — and I think that I can learn a lot from her not only skill wise and not only playing, but also how to work with your teammates and how to make sure that healthy goaltending relationship is still maintained.”
Schubert played four seasons with the Bisons, primarily in a tandem with Dyck, before graduating and spending a year playing professionally in Finland.
Not only will Schubert bring experience but she will bring her energetic personality and vocal presence on the ice, on the bench and in the dressing room. Fargey is a similar ball of energy and says the two have even begun to influence Manitoba’s new rookie keeper, Kaitlyn Nault, in that respect.
“I would say that we’re both pretty energetic,” Fargey said.
“I like to think that we’re both very supportive, loud voices on the ice. So, [Schubert] makes a big save in practice and she’s ‘Wooing,’ she’s showing the girls, ‘Hey, I got that’ and I’m like, ‘That is so me, I love to do that too.’
“And [Nault] is definitely picking up on that too. I think we’ve got three loud goaltenders, it’s a fun group.”
How the starts will be divided up between the three goalies is still unknown, as Fargey says she has not yet had that conversation with Bisons head coach Jon Rempel, but understands how important it will be for all three to see time in the crease.
“I think we’re all going to touch the ice and we’re all going to see it develop,” Fargey said.
“Because [Nault] has got to get some games under her belt in this game too, because she’s got to develop so that we have a strong tandem after [Schubert] is gone.”