Anna Corfield, Teagan Preyma and Megan Warrener were not in a hurry to
leave the Stoney Creek Sabres’ picture night.
Corfield and Preyma, the netminders for the Atom AA team, wanted to savour
the occasion and snapped photo after photo with Warrener, their mentor, in
the Sabres’ dressing room.
Over the 2018-19 season, the two young netminders forged a very tight bond
with Warrener, their 16-year-old part-time goalie instructor. Warrener
managed the impressive feat of mentoring the two keepers – as well as the
skaters on the provincial-championship-winning team – while balancing
school work and being a full-time goaltender for the Sabres’ Midget AA club
bound for the 2019 Esso Cup in Sudbury.
This feeling of gratitude was a two-way street. Warrener treasured every
moment in her first season as a part-time instructor working alongside
goalie coach Brian Pescetti.
"It has been amazing,” says Warrener. “They are a bunch of great kids and
“As the season went on they took me in, especially the coaches. Jamie
Chapman, the head coach, really taught me a lot about coaching and how to
connect with the kids, because it doesn’t matter what you teach them and
what you know if you don’t have a relationship with them.”
Chapman, who has known Warrener since she was an Atom player, invited
Warrener to join the staff because he felt her passion, interest in
coaching and skill at being a great student of the game would make her a
good fit with the organization.
He was also keen on helping Warrener prepare for her long-term future in
“I am all about keeping women in the game,” says Chapman. “I wanted to give
her a taste of what coaching is about so that when she’s done university
and she wants to give back to the game, she’s already had it implanted in
her to go ahead and do it.”
The head coach was very impressed with how Warrener went above and beyond
to support the team. In addition to attending at least one practice per
week, Warrener took the initiative to capture video of Corfield and Preyma
during their games to help her provide the best advice possible.
Warrener’s most rewarding moment as a coach occurred at provincials. Midway
through the tournament, she received a request for feedback from Corfield
via text message. The Midget AA mentor told her Atom AA student “tracking
is the biggest thing. If she could watch the puck, she could save the puck.
It’s not about necessarily about always having the right angle or
overanalyzing. It’s about reacting instead of overanalyzing.”
This advice ultimately paid off in a big way in the gold medal game against
the Markham-Stouffville Stars.
“She had an amazing save. Everything we had talked about with watching the
puck led to an amazing save to help them win in overtime.”
Chapman says Warrener made a transformational impact on Preyma’s game as
“I had Teagan last year, and we struggled to get her to be aggressive – she
liked to stay back in the paint.
Megan got her outside of the paint this year. It was great.”
One of the reasons Preyma became inspired to adopt a more aggressive style
was watching Warrener. Chapman says Warrener plays at the top of her crease
and always tenaciously challenges the shooter.
Coaching will remain in Warrener’s life in the immediate future: she has
already committed to serving as a goalie coach for the Sabres’ Peewee AA
team in 2019-20.
She also envisions herself following in the footsteps of Manon Rhéaume, her
role model, by becoming a coach at the end of her playing career. Warrener
had the opportunity to be coached by Rhéaume at the North American
Prospects Showcase tournament in Buffalo, N.Y., in 2014.
“She was an amazing coach. Even though you have limited time to connect
with your coach, she was able to catch everyone’s attention, even if they
didn’t know who she was.”
During their brief time together, Rhéaume taught Chapman that being a
goaltender allows you to bring the entire ice surface into focus, which
made Rhéaume well-equipped at providing sage advice to both goaltenders and
skaters when she started coaching.
Chapman says that Warrener already excels at decoding what is taking place
on the ice. The young coach is driven to continue honing her teaching
abilities so that she will be able to be a high-level bench boss in the
future – ideally, she says, in the NCAA.