By Josh Lockhart
The Nitros Xpress Hockey Academy had three players commit to playing college hockey for the upcoming season: Kim Simoneau, Laurel Davidson, and Bailey Park.
Both Simoneau and Davidson are off to the newly branded University of Providence in Great Falls, Montana, and are starting their first ever women’s hockey program. While Park has committed to play with Norwich University.
Simoneau is from Olds, Alberta, and played goaltender for the Xpress.
“I want to enjoy the experience while it lasts,” Simoneau said. “We are not going to be playing hockey forever. I just want to get the most out of it. I really hope to get another family out of this team.”
Davidson is from Whitefish, Montana and was a forward for the Xpress.
“I really am excited to play college hockey, because I didn’t think I was going to be able to because I didn’t want to go to the east coast, because that is really far away. It has a special excitement for me with being a part of girls hockey in Montana,” Davidson said, relating her efforts to grow hockey in the state. “It’s important for young girls to see that they can play hockey and don’t have to go to the east coast. To me, that really hits home, the development within the Montana hockey world.”
Even though Davidson is returning to play in her home state, she says that Kimberley is actually closer to her hometown than the University of Providence.
Park is a local defender who made headlines a couple of years ago when she committed, while in grade 10, to play with Yale University. That commitment changed to Norwich this past season.
“It is scary,” Park said about making the adjustment to college hockey. “I don’t want to be a bad rookie on the team. But it is really exciting. I can’t wait. I’m excited to get my degree, have a job, be a better hockey player, and all the other new experiences.”
Park finished her interview with a message for all the little girls in Kimberley currently playing or considering playing hockey: “Play hockey and don’t quit. Hockey is a great sport to get you places. It is super fun, you make so many friendships, and you just become a better person. Do it and you won’t regret it.”