To an athlete, family is everything.
When an athlete’s family makes it a point to fill the stands at home games, the support boosts confidence and happiness in said athlete.
Which is the case for Carleton Ravens women’s hockey player Leah Scott.
“I think the most special part about it is being able to share such important games and life moments with my friends and family from home,” Scott said about the support at games from her family and friends.
“I always get razzed at the rink for taking all the game tickets for my “fan club,” but really it’s just because my friends and family are so supportive and show up to so many of our games that I need to set aside so many tickets every home game,” she added.
Scott is currently headed into her final year of eligibility in U Sports, as she gets set to graduate with her degree in Health Science, a concentration in Chronic Illness and Disability, and a minor in Neuroscience and Mental Health.
For the past five years, Scott has been playing for the Ravens, which has given her the chance to play university hockey in the city she grew up in, while also playing on a team with girls she considers a second family to her.
“It’s also really great because now my family has met all of my new university hockey teammates and they love them just as much as I do, and for the team, I think it’s nice to feel like they have a second family to go to when they are too far from home,” Scott said.
“I love that my family and I can be that support system for anyone on the team who needs a home-cooked meal or some family time,” she added.
Over the course of her career, Scott has played on boy’s teams. She has played for the Ottawa Lady Senators, and she has spent the last four years playing for the Ravens.
Scott got started playing hockey when she got interested in the sport due to her grandfather having played and coached the sports, and her uncle and cousin having also played the sport.
“I played soccer and did ballet as a kid and one day I asked my parents out of the blue if they could sign me up for hockey. So, they signed me up in boy’s hockey and obviously I loved it because here we are,” Scott reminisced.
Growing up in Ottawa, Scott recalls that every day was spent outside in rain or shine, as she would be playing with her siblings and friends.
“My family also has a pool so I have fond memories of having pool parties with my friends and family,” Scott recalled.
Scott also has many fond memories of growing up with her older sister and her younger brother.
Scott had an athletic relationship with her brother, as her memories include playing games with him.
“My brother and I were the best of friends and the worst of enemies growing up because we were both really competitive. We would spend countless hours playing mini-sticks, soccer, basketball, you name it,” Scott said.
“And it would always end in tears because the other person “wasn’t ready” when the winning goal went in, but at the end of the day we were best friends and we enjoyed spending time together and I would not be the hockey player I am today without him always challenging me to be better,” she added.
Meanwhile, her memories of her sister revolved around her sister caring about Scott and her brother, and how Scott looked up to her sister a lot.
“She would do anything for us and she was always our moral compass and I looked up to her so much. I always wanted to hang out with her and be more like her because she was so smart, well spoken, kind-hearted, and funny,” Scott said.
“My siblings and I to this day get along really well and I would not be where I am today without them. They are my comic relief, my best friends, and my biggest supporters,” she added.
Prior to playing for the Ravens, Scott played for the Ottawa Lady Senators, but prior to that, she played on boy’s hockey teams.
“My first hockey team was a boy’s hockey team and I remember being really shy at first but making friends fairly easily,” Scott said.
“I remember the guys being really welcoming and great teammates, and I think that the acceptance they showed me along with the fun I had played a huge role in why I continued to play and enjoy boy’s hockey throughout my childhood,” she added.
And Scott’s early days of playing hockey also involve days of going to the outdoor rink with her parents.
“I remember my Grandpa having to explain to my parents how to get me dressed in my hockey equipment so early in the morning that it was still dark out and I was still half asleep,” Scott said.
“I definitely remember the early mornings and getting my hockey stuff on at home with my PJs underneath so that I could just throw my skates, helmet, and gloves on when we got to the rink. But mostly, I remember how eager I was to get up and go play despite it being five or six a.m. and freezing cold outside,” she added.
During her time with the Ottawa Lady Senators, Scott’s team made it to the bronze medal game at Provincials, one of Scott’s most memorable moments.
“I remember our team being really good and having some really skilled players who I loved playing with and who made me a better hockey player,” Scott said about her time with the Ottawa Lady Senators.
“I made so many lifelong friends playing for the Ottawa Lady Senators and they provided us all with so many great opportunities to continue our hockey careers,” she added.
As for what she misses the most about playing for the Ottawa Lady Senators, Scott has said she misses the friends she has made along the way during carpools and team potlucks.
Following her time with the Ottawa Lady Senators, Scott joined the Ravens for the start of the 2015-16 season.
“Well I always wanted to go to the states to play hockey but I knew that I would always end up back in Ottawa and when I discovered that Carleton offered health science and that I could play hockey, save money by living at home, and still be able to live on campus for a year and all of that, I decided that Carleton was probably the best fit and it aligned best with what I saw myself doing in the future,” Scott said about her decision to come to Carleton.
So far, while playing for the Ravens, Scott has played in 80 games, recording four goals and three assists for seven points.
While she has not produced many points for the Ravens, Scott has shown herself to be a leader among her peers, as she is currently the captain.
“I definitely felt very humbled and grateful for the opportunity and the confidence that they had in me to take on such an important role. I was also really excited to hear that news but again I knew it’s not always an easy task so I was, and still am, very dedicated to trying to be the best leader that I could be,” Scott said about being told she became captain.
So far, Scott’s most memorable moment as a Raven is when the Ravens defeated their rival University of Ottawa Gee-Gees 5-2 in the Colonel By Classic game.
And following the 2019-2020 season, when her eligibility is up, Scott has said she’ll miss everything about her hanging out with all her friends on the team.
“I will definitely miss the hockey aspect and being able to be on the ice almost every day in a competitive and organized manner,” Scott said.
“But I will mostly miss the camaraderie, the laughs, the constant joking around, the road trips, the pregame warm-ups, the bus rides, and most importantly the people who made my university hockey career so special,” she added.
Because of all the friendships Scott has made while on the team, and because the team is her whole second family, Scott wholeheartedly agrees being a varsity athlete with the Ravens has been one of her most memorable moments in life.
“We as a hockey team are like a family because we spend so much time together but the best part about it is that even when we aren’t forced to be hanging out at the rink together, we all actively plan to hang out away from the rink which is so nice and I have definitely made some lifelong friends while being a varsity athlete,” Scott said.
“In terms of the Ravens varsity community as a whole, all staff and sports teams included, it is an amazing experience and again, so many friends are made along the way and the staff is always so helpful and attentive that it really does make Carleton feel like home and for that I will always be grateful,” she added.
Due to Scott’s countless hours spent on a rink and playing varsity and competitive hockey, being an athlete has allowed Scott to mature and grow faster than her peers, due to learning how to play a sport that looks highly upon its players being respectful and humble.
Like so many athletes before her, Scott has faced countless challenges and adversities, some of which include her confidence, and her balancing of hockey and school.
“Being at Carleton though, my teammates and coaches have done a really great job of instilling that confidence in me by both encouraging me and supporting my decisions on and off the ice,” Scott said.
“Another thing that is always difficult, I think for everyone, is keeping your life well balanced beneath all the pressure that goes along with being an athlete, a student, and a young adult. It takes a lot of energy, physical and mental, to manage all that is being asked of you and sometimes it becomes a lot to handle and things become unbalanced,” she added.
But one big thing Scott said has been an adversity, is the mental aspect of things.
“Maintaining my mental health is something that I have more recently had to work on, with personal setbacks getting in the way of me focusing on hockey and then hockey interfering with school and life, which really throws you for a loop sometimes,” Scott said.
“But in Carleton athletics, mental health is a big priority so maintaining my mental health has been much easier with the support of the team, the Ravens family, and all the supports offered on campus,” she added.
But due to all the challenges and adversities she has faced, Scott believes she has grown on and off the ice because of them.
“Off the ice I have definitely learned a lot of life lessons about what it means to be a leader and someone who other people can come to when they are experiencing a problem. I have learned to problem solve and interact in a professional yet caring way,” Scott said.
“As a player I have learned so much about hockey, strength and conditioning and what it takes to play at a high level. I feel as though as a player I have grown to have more confidence in my abilities and practicing every day has allowed me to develop a lot of the skills that I lacked before coming to Carleton,” she added.
And due to her growth as an athlete, Scott has also learned many valuable life lessons that can be applied outside of hockey.
“It has taught me to get outside of my comfort zone and to be a valuable member of a team. It has taught me leadership skills, people skills, how to deal with difficult situations in a calm and efficient way. It has taught me how to be respectful, responsible, and understanding,” Scott said.
“And it has taught me so much about communication, being a good teammate, how to manage my time and prioritize what is important. Mostly it has taught me the value of what it means to be apart of a community and how important sports can be for building character,” she added.
Due to all these lessons, Scott has learned to take pride in her “abilities to lead by example and be a good teammate, being a well-rounded athlete who enjoys various sports, her ability to balance life and school all while playing at such a high level.”
Due to all her growth and the inspirations and influence Scott had as a child, she is well on her way to a very successful future.
As of right now, Scott has no idea what she’ll be doing with her hockey career, but like many athletes, she hopes she can continue in some aspect of the sport.
“Sadly, I don’t really have any hockey plans for next year which is really scary considering I’ve grown up playing hockey and planning my life around hockey, but I don’t think I will ever be too far away from the rink,” Scott said.
“I’d love to keep playing and enjoying the game I love. Whether that’s in a beer league or something more we’ll see but I don’t want to just stop playing,” she added.
As for what she’ll do in her degree from Carleton, Scott doesn’t know that yet either.
“As of right now that is still to be determined but I am considering going back to school to study physiotherapy or sports medicine but again we will see what the future brings,” Scott said.
But what she does know, is that throughout life, her parents have been a huge influence to her in her hockey career.
“My parents were, and still are, the most supportive people in my life. They always encouraged my siblings and me to do what made us happy and there was never any judgement or pushing us towards what they wanted us to do,” Scott said.
“They were always very involved with our lives and were always there for us when we needed them. They are very loving people and always made my friends feel welcome in our home, which is something I admire about them. They kept us grounded and always reminded us of the important things in life and they always kept our house exciting and full of love,” she added.
And as for her inspiration, Scott credits her grandparents for being there for her to look up to and being there to support her in school, hockey, and life.
“I looked up to them so much and wanted to make them proud because they were always such big supporters of my siblings and me and always encouraged us to do our best and I was a really lucky kid to have had such great grandparents to be around and to look up to.”