With the signing of Scout Watkins-Southward on Monday, the Queen’s Gaels women’s hockey team is now in the midst of restocking its shelves with local talent.During a noon-hour ceremony at La Salle Secondary School in front of family and friends, Watkins-Southward, a right-winger who graduated from the Kingston Jr. Ice Wolves this spring after serving as their captain, signed her commitment form with Queen’s to join the Ontario University Athletics team this fall.
She follows two other former Ice Wolves to the Gaels — goaltender Kathryn Jalink of Kingston and forward Shelby Sly of Seeley’s Bay, who completed their first season with Queen’s this spring. Before that, the Queen’s women’s team had very few local players. Queen’s head coach Matt Holmberg, going into his 14th season, 11 as head coach, now wants to see more local players on the team.
“You look at the success of our local Ice Wolves teams and there’s a lot of really good players from this area,” he said in an interview after the signing. “Not just because they’re from the area, it’s because they’re great hockey players that we’ve wanted them to stay here. ”It’s good for local players, too, he said.
“It’s the best of both worlds. You can live at Queen’s, still feel like you’re on your own, and maybe apart from your family but having that comfort that your family is still there.” Holmberg said he already is speaking to local players who can join the Gaels in 2020 and 2021. Watkins-Southward will study arts at Queen’s in the fall.The Ice Wolves were bronze medallists in the 2018-19 Provincial Women’s Hockey League playoffs after finishing first in the regular season. They also placed second in the Intermediate AA division of the Ontario Women’s Hockey Association Provincials
Watkins-Southward collected 32 points (15 goals, 17 assists) in 35 PWHL regular-season games before adding seven points (six goals, one assist) in a dozen playoff contests. “I’m going to bring my hard work and effort that I bring every time I’m on the ice,” Watkins Southward said after the signing. She also calls herself a very enthusiastic person. “I think I’ll fit in great with the culture they’ve made,” she said. “I’ve been a huge fan for seven years now and I love going out to support them in their home games and watching the girls play this high-level, fantastic hockey.”
Watkins-Southward committed to the Concordia Stingers two years ago but changed her mind to attend Queen’s.“I decided it wasn’t quite the right fit for me,” she said. She liked the Stingers coaching staff and women’s hockey program but in the end wanted to be close to home. “I’m super excited to be part of the Queen’s family.”
A multi-sport athlete, Watkins Southward played on La Salle’s girls hockey, soccer, volleyball, skiing and basketball teams during her time there. She’s a former provincial high school gold medallist in downhill slalom.“I’m extremely confident Scout will fit into our hockey culture at Queen’s very well,” Holmberg said. “She’s an outstanding hockey player. Her resume speaks for itself.” “She’s a tireless worker, an infectious work ethic, great attitude, a fantastic student and really puts an emphasis on family.”