The feeling of stepping onto the ice is incomparable to Fiona Lester, a defenceman for the Golden Hawks women's hockey team. Fresh from a recent OUA championship title, Lester, originally from Peterborough, Ont., embodies the tenacious attitude of a successful athlete.
Lester's roots begin as a figure skater before venturing into the world of hockey. "I started out figure skating but after a couple of years, my dad suggested I try out hockey. It sounded like a fun idea so I decided to give it a try," explains the OUA champion. At the age of seven, Lester began building on her love for hockey, joining a minor league team in her hometown. "Once I put on the hockey skates I didn't put on my figure skates on again," she said.
However, it wasn't until her senior year of high school that Lester's passion for the game would be put to the test. "A year before coming to university, I broke my femur during a game around Christmas time at a tournament. It was an awkward collision with another played and my knee slid in first - it was really painful and the paramedics came and told me I broke my femur," recalls Lester. "My first thought was 'What am I going to do? How long would it take to recover?' It was really unfortunate because it happened during prime scouting time," she went on to say. The injury resulted in a rod being surgically inserted down her femur, leaving Lesters hockey future looming. "I knew I had a long road ahead of me for recovery, but that wasn't going to stop me."
Just two months after her injury, Lester was on the ice and ready to pursue the sport she loves so much. "Getting back on the ice was my main focus," the First Team Academic All-America explained. "I made my dad take me to a canal down in Peterborough and get me to practice skating and by the start of the season I was good to go."
When it came down to decision time in picking a university to attend, Lester was worried whether her injury would be a set-back. "When I was applying to schools, I put Laurier down but hadn't spoken to any of the coaches. Shortly after I applied, I heard back from [head coach] RICK OSBORNE and he invited me down for a visit," said Lester. "Rick recruited me and had faith in me despite my injury which was awesome." Upon visiting Waterloo, Lester remembers, "I had a very good feeling about the school, both the academic and hockey programs. I got to see all the people involved and it seemed very well-put together. It wasn't a tough decision at all."
Lester's first game with the Golden Hawks was also her first game since her injury - only a small taste of the big success that would soon follow. "I prepared myself pretty well off the ice: getting to the gym and working out at the rink - making sure I was physically ready for games."