Lindsay Eastwood a Strong Physical Presence with the PWHL's Nepean Wildcats

Mark StaffieriContributor IIDecember 28, 2012

Eastwood during player introductions (photo by Mark Staffieri)
Eastwood during player introductions (photo by Mark Staffieri)

One of the tallest players in the PWHL, Nepean’s Lindsay Eastwood is a heart and soul player who has bolstered the team's blue line. Towering at nearly 6 feet, the 15-year-old is a prodigy in the making. “I am in my second year with the Wildcats," she says. "It is a great opportunity to play with them.”

Having joined the Wildcats when she was 14, she was competing against teenagers in the PWHL who were as old as 18. “At first I though it was a little weird, but I got the hang of it,” Eastwood says. In joining any new league, there is always a learning curve. “Adjusting to the PWHL was a little different," she explains. "I had played with boys for a few years before. There is no hitting in the PWHL, but the girls can be just as aggressive.”

Former Los Angeles Kings player (and current Ottawa Gee-Gees women’s hockey assistant) Steve Seguin serves on the Nepean coaching staff as an assistant. His presence on the staff has been of great guidance to Eastwood, who says, “He gives me lots of great tips all the time. He helps my game.”

Her teammates Lauren Miller and Taylor Thurston competed at the National Under-18 championships. Miller claimed a bronze with Ontario Red, while Thurston grabbed gold with Ontario Blue. Their accomplishments provide Eastwood with admiration and ambition: “They are really great players. I hope to be on that team next year.”

Like any player in the PWHL, Eastwood aspires for the opportunity to compete at the Under-18 Nationals: “It would be amazing, awesome! That is my dream. That and playing for Team Canada, of course. I want to play at the top level.”

The opportunity to compete with Nepean in the PWHL’s first annual Do It for Daron game was a great experience for Eastwood. She explains, “I was really excited for that game.” In playing the cross-town rivals, the PWHL Ottawa Senators only added to the excitement. “That was probably the biggest crowd [Ottawa] had all year. It is one of the most intense rivalries in PWHL for sure.”

All the proceeds of that contest went to the DIFD foundation, which honors the life of the late Daron Richardson and raises money for mental health research. The importance was not lost on Eastwood: “It was very important to me. There were a lot of emotions in that game. It was awesome to get so many people to help out and support [Daron].”

Although Eastwood is able to handle the demands of hockey and competitive junior hockey, she explains, “Right now I am in grade 10, so it is not too crazy yet. I still work hard a lot. Grades 11 and 12 should be very busy, so I am preparing for that.”

Heading into the holiday break, the Wildcats are in the bottom half of the league standings. In a 5-5 tie with second place Whitby (in which Nepean held a 5-3 lead), Eastwood was assiduous. She intercepted a pass early in the first period that would lead to Nepean’s first goal, and she later blocked Nicole Martindale’s shot with her shoulder. “I thought it was a great game," she says. "It was very high scoring, which is unusual for women’s hockey. It was a shame we could not pull off the win.”

Despite being in the lower half of the standings, Eastwood is confident that the Wildcats can finish strong heading down the stretch:“The team is looking good, and that is really important, I find. Throughout the year, we have nowhere to go but up.”

All quotes obtained first-hand unless otherwise indicated.