Heading into her last year with the University of Connecticut Huskies, Jody Sydor is getting it done on and off the ice.
Sydor is one of few pharmacy students at UConn to be a student athlete, largely because of how demanding the program is. Her accomplishments with the midget AAA St. Albert Slash actually propelled the Huskies to reschedule their practices to accommodate the five-foot-eight defenceman.
“Some schools wouldn’t allow you to do this or that but they’ve been helping me and working around it,” Sydor said. “The school of pharmacy has really been helpful too. If I have to miss class because of a road trip they’ll let me make up the time.”
The former Slash captain is grateful for the support she receives at school.
“It’s very welcoming, that’s one of the reasons I came here. I got to stay with some of the girls on the team when I visited and they raved about the school,” she said.
As a junior, Sydor scored twice and added 10 assists in 37 games and was plus-14. In three seasons with the Huskies she recorded seven goals (five on the power play), 35 assists, 42 points and 107 penalty minutes in 107 games.
“I’ve learned a lot. I’ve never lived away from home before so it’s been quite the experience and a good feeling of independence. I’ve grown as a player. I got the basics and my competitive nature from SAMHA, which really helped me here. It’s a lot more competitive here, a big step up.”
Sydor is hoping next season the Division 1 Huskies can push the boundary they achieved this year: going to the final in Hockey East and getting into the national NCAA tournament. Unfortunately for the Huskies, Boston University won its conference and automatically qualified (then lost to Mercyhurst in the NCAA quarter-finals), as well as Cornell, who won the East Coast Athletic Conference. Ranked seventh heading into the playoffs, the Huskies were bumped by Boston and Cornell’s achievements to a ninth-place ranking, pushing them out of the NCAA tournament.
“It was heartbreaking,” Sydor said. “It almost felt not real. There is nothing you can do about it but move on, learn from what we did wrong and look forward to next year and make sure it doesn’t happen again.”