It’s easy to get comfortable and be content with the status quo.
It would’ve been simple for Maeve McGauley to live another year at home in Wilcox, Sask., and play another season with her hometown Notre Dame Hounds.
But that wasn’t working for her and, more important, it was no longer making her happy.
“As I was going through high school, from Grade 9 right up to the beginning of Grade 12, I didn’t progress as much as I wanted to,” says McGauley. “As much
as I was doing, it just didn’t click and I couldn’t get the best that I wanted to. I thought if I wanted to get to where I want to, something has to
So with her parents’ support and encouragement, McGauley left the Hounds just before representing Saskatchewan at the 2015 National Women’s Under-18
She briefly considered joining the Regina Rebels, a team two of her sisters had once played for. Instead, she picked the Weyburn Gold Wings, who in
addition to being the host of the 2016 Esso Cup ran a schedule similar to what she was used to at Notre Dame.
Any nerves she had about joining a close-knit team mid-season were alleviated immediately.
McGauley arrived early to her first practice and took a few minutes to familiarize herself with her new surroundings.
“When I walked out of the rink everyone was pulling up and they were all saying my name,” she says. “It was quite surprising and welcoming. It felt really
nice actually. When I walked in the dressing room it didn’t feel too different.”
McGauley endeared herself further in her first game with the team; she contributed a goal and two assists in a 6-1 win over the Rebels. McGauley played 16
regular season games for the Gold Wings and averaged 1.1 points per game, second highest on the team.
“I was taught a certain way of playing hockey and that was just being aggressive,” she says. “I bring that work ethic and aggressiveness to the table and
just up the energy and intensity a bit.”
That competitive fire comes naturally to someone who is the seventh of eight kids in her family to play hockey. McGauley, 18, has three older brothers,
three older sisters and one younger brother.
Shinny with brothers Colum, 15, and Ged, 19, can get animated. In the summer, the family rents ice and does drills, ending the week-long “training camp”
with a game. With no goaltenders among the octet, it’s four-on-four and hitting the post is the name of the game.
“[Being one of the youngest] has definitely had something to do with the way I play and how I’ve developed as a hockey player,” says McGauley. “We’re
pretty close, and because there are eight of us who all play the same sport we all have that competitive mindset. Whenever we played games with one
another, just a simple Uno, even those could get pretty heated and [our parents] had to step in and send us to our rooms.”
Sisters Patricia and Taera played for Regina when the team hosted the 2010 Esso Cup. McGauley was nearly as active on the ice as they were. She served as a
flag-bearer during a couple of games and took part in an intermission competition in which she had to score as many times as possible from the blue-line
before time ran out.
Patricia represented Saskatchewan at the 2009 U18 nationals and went on to play at Yale University. Oldest brother Tyadg plays professionally in Asia, and
older brother Tim is a member of the Brandon Wheat Kings of the Western Hockey League.
McGauley can’t help but be influenced by what her siblings have done.
“It’s taught me that there are dreams and they’re not unreachable,” she says. “Even just playing against them – it’s different when you play against them
but at the same time, I can keep up with you. Well, you like to think that. You’re like, if they can do it, I can do it too. It gives you a lot of hope and
While McGauley hasn’t talked to her sisters about the pressure of being the Esso Cup host team, everyone has always been open about their own experiences
and how they’ve learned from them.
“They talk about how playing on different teams has challenged them and their ability as hockey players,” says McGauley. “Some advice they’ve given me is
to get out of your comfort zone; it’s not always the easiest thing to do but it’s the best.”
They’re words McGauley took to heart, and this season has her right where she wants to be.