Bobcat sheds sleep in the name of hockey

STAY-AT-HOME DEFENDER: It’s been a very busy 2011 for Bishop Strachan blueliner Caitlin Maikawa. The team captain saw a Division I CISAA title as well as qualifying for national playoffs with her club team, Toronto Aeros.

Caitlin Maikawa helps Bishop Strachan’s attack on division rival Nichols School in CISAA finals

Caitlin Maikawa never takes the easy way out.

It’s an observation her Bishop Strachan coach Ken Dufton has made while watching his stay-at-home defenceman work on her icy milieu.

“I have an expression that I like to use and that is she’s a player that makes all the hard choices that are going to be necessary in order to be the best she can possibly be,” he said.

But ask the Bobcats captain and Toronto Aeros blueliner where her talent comes from and she’ll say training 24-7.

“Over the years I’ve definitely developed good time-management skills, but it’s pretty busy,” she said. “I lose a bit of sleep but it’s definitely worth it.

Up at 5 a.m. every morning for practice, her hard work has paid off. This year, Bishop Strachan beat long-time rival Nichols School of Buffalo, New York 4-3 in January.

“Earlier this season when we beat Nichols that was the first time we had beaten them since I had been there,” Dufton said. “That was our psychological hurdle we had to get over and they really pleasantly surprised us.”

Come CISAA Division I championship final, Bobcats handed Nichols Vikings a 4-0 loss.

“This is a very strong league,” Dufton said. “There is not a lot of difference between the top 4 teams.

“Most of the games are decided by one goal and we kind of surprised ourselves on the final day.”

It was a crowning achievement for a season of success for Maikawa.

“The last two years we’ve lost to Nichols in overtime and this year we ended up beating them, which was pretty exciting,” she said, adding it’s not the only success she’s seen in 2011. “Earlier in February with the Aeros we won our provincials, which means we are going to nationals in three weeks.”

Along with her were BSS teammates Audrey Potts, Morgan Sly and Hayley Masters.

With graduation fast approaching, the 17 year old Maikawa is looking to pursue a chemical engineering degree at the University of Toronto.

After coaching Maikawa for the past four years, Dufton sees nothing but success for her.

“She combines … a really good work ethic and a strong understanding of making the right choices that is going to allow her to become not just the best hockey player, but the best student,” he said.

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