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Laurier Grads Soar: Dr. Fiona Aiston
Concussion suffered during high school drove former women's hockey player to pursue career in medicine

Tuesday, January 30, 2018 - Posted by Jamie Howieson

Laurier Grads Soar is a multi-part series that has returned for the 2017-18 year. The segment features former Wilfrid Laurier University athletes and student-leaders in the Athletics and Recreation Department, and the success they have enjoyed since leaving Laurier. Written by award-winning journalist David Grossman, different features will be released throughout the year that will emphasize the role Athletics and Recreation played in helping them achieve success.

Dr. Fiona Aiston: Family Doctor

For some, it may be hard to believe.

Playing competitive hockey as a teen, then suffering a concussion, paved the way to pursing a career in medicine.

It’s true, just ask one of the most prolific female student athletes to ever attend Wilfrid Laurier University.

Dr. Fiona Aiston said the head injury she sustained, while playing at Nepean High in Ottawa, was the “motivator” for her in choosing a profession that would help people live longer and healthier lives.

“Back in Grade 9, I liked studying sciences, wanted to be a doctor and thought about sports medicine,” she said. “The head injury – that was when I confirmed my intentions to be a doctor.”

But the long road to medical school, which amounted to many years of studies and residency at Queen’s University in Kingston, came after Aiston had made a name for herself as a top-notch student in the classroom at Laurier.

As someone who also knew what to do with a pair of skates and hockey stick, Aiston also had people talking, year after year, about her remarkable ability to excel in Canada’s National Winter sport.

Despite leading Laurier players in points for four consecutive seasons, and chosen team Rookie of the Year, Aiston, a winger, also earned, and maintained, high numbers in the classroom.

Good things do come in bunches, but Aiston is also one who deflects praise – especially when teamwork is involved. Choosing to attend Laurier, when she had to commute by so many other universities, has been one of the easiest things in her life.

“I was looking for a small campus and Laurier wasn’t in the running until I visited the place,” said Aiston “(Laurier) was so congenial and just had a bit of everything. The athletic environment was great. As for hockey, you just couldn’t have asked for better coaching along with some personable and friendly people always around you.”

Aiston went on to graduate with a Bachelor of Science degree, just one of many successes that happened frequently during her years at Laurier.

Her brilliance on the ice was the pretext to the Golden Hawks winning championships. 

There were four at the Ontario University Athletic level, but the big one just may have been the 2005 Canadian university championship. While some athletes are just thrilled to win one title, Aiston added to her collection of awards with three all-star recognitions, a trio of special honors as an academic all-Canadian, and twice chosen the recipient of Laurier’s Luke Fusco academic and athletic recognition. 

But in 2006, Aiston took to the awards podium for something very special.

It was her selection as the inaugural recipient of the Outstanding Women of Laurier award – a title given to an individual with an “active commitment to leadership and the development of young athletes through community teaching or coaching”.

“I often think about my days at Laurier – and it’s an emotional thing,” she said. “I was away from home and it was a time to plan a future and I left there having accomplished so much.”

Heavily focused on medical studies at Queen’s, Aiston did find time to stay close to hockey. But, it was in the important role of a coach mentoring midget-AA players in Kingston.

Now living in Yellowknife, a community of 20,000 on the north shore of Great Slave Lake in the Northwest Territories, Aiston is a family doctor in a rural community – and, you guessed it, playing hockey in a Women’s league.

“This, too, is a very special place – and leaves me with a similar vibe to that of Laurier,” said Aiston, who works at the Frame Lake Community Health Clinic. “My interest is in women’s health and this has been a very important, and foundational chapter, in my life.”

-END-

David Grossman is a veteran award-winning Journalist and Broadcaster with some of Canada’s major media, including the Toronto Star and SPORTSNET 590 THE FAN, and a Public Relations professional for 40+ years in Canadian sports and Government relations.

Previous Features
Steve Griggs - Chief Executive Officer and President, Tampa Bay Lightning
Sophie Kotsopoulos - Senior Director of Integrated Marketing, National Hockey League
Mike McKenna - Former Director, Telecom, Media and Technology Investment Banking
Nicole Lee - Director of Integrated Marketing, National Hockey League
Mike Bartlett - Executive Director, Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment Foundation
Rebecca Watts - Manager, 2017 World Junior Hockey Championship
Hugh Lawson - Director of Business Development, Staples Promotional Products
Cheryl Pounder - Former Canadian National Women's Hockey Team Member
John Morris - 2010 Olympic Men's Curling Gold Medalist
Bill Burke - Chief Executive Officer and Owner, Niagara Ice Dogs
Tania Pedron - Manager of Administration and Operations, Maple Leafs Sport and Entertainment
Wayne Kemick - BMO Wealth Advisor
Denise Burke - President, Niagara Ice Dogs
Kevin McDonald - Vice President of Football Operations and Player Safety, CFL
Dr. Megan Yaraskavitch - Neurologist
Andrew Agro - Director of Corporate Sponsorship and Business Development, New York Jets
Marcia Powers-Dunlop - Senior Manager of Professional Support Services, Toronto District School Board
Joe Vernon - Lawyer, Miller Canfield
Emily Rudow - Founder, Oneiric Hockey
Todd Cooney - Vice President and Broker, CBRE Limited
Jennifer Elliott - Sports Information Officer, uOttawa Gee-Gees
Rohan  Thompson - Social Worker and Professor, Conestoga College


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