Taylor Thurston Part of Long Line of Elite Female Stars from Ottawa Area

Mark Staffieri@@MarkStaff100Contributor IIDecember 17, 2012

Photo by Mark Staffieri
Photo by Mark Staffieri

As one of the stars for the Nepean Wildcats in the Provincial Women’s Hockey League, Taylor Thurston is one of the league’s elite blueliners. The PWHL is a junior women’s hockey league in Ontario, Canada, and Thurston has emerged as one of the stars from the Ottawa area.

Thurston will be participating in the PWHL’s first annual Do It for Daron game on December 20, 2012. DIFD is the foundation that preserves the memory of the late Daron Richardson, who was the daughter of former NHLer Luke Richardson and sister of Cornell Big Red player Morgan Richardson. Thurston proudly wears the Purple DIFD Heart Logo on back of her helmet. She knew Daron and played with her in Bantam AA. “It is good to support it and it helps the community.”

The 5'7" defender helped Team Ontario Blue achieve Canadian women’s hockey history. She was part of the roster that helped the squad win their first gold medal at the 2012 Canadian Under-18 Nationals in Dawson Creek, British Columbia. “It was awesome. Really exciting and a good feeling.”

As an alternate captain, it is a role that Thurston accepts with responsibility, “Definitely! We love all our teammates. They look up to us, and we need to show leadership.” Thurston spent a few seasons with the Ottawa Senators of the PWHL before joining Nepean in autumn 2012. “I jumped teams because of the opportunity presented. The coaching staff and the team staff are awesome.” Despite the change of venue, the electricity generated between the two franchises has not dwindled: “There has always been a rivalry!”

Her older sister is MacKenzie Thurston, a former Ottawa PWHL member and an elite soccer player. The eldest Thurston competes with the Bemidji State Beavers in the NCAA and was an All-WCHA Academic Team selection after the 2010-11 season. Taylor acknowledges that her older sister is an influence for her. “Definitely. Before I felt there was pressure on me, but she has done so well with hockey. She makes me want to do well.”

The Rochester Institute of Technology Tigers will represent Thurston’s next step in her hockey career. “I am super excited! It is a new experience and should be fun! I am excited for the opportunity to grow with the team.” The 2012-13 NCAA season marks the first year that the RIT Tigers are competing at the Division I level. “There are a lot of Canadians there and many who played in the PWHL. It gives more of a welcoming atmosphere.”

“All quotes obtained first hand unless otherwise indicated”