CHARLOTTETOWN – The Holland Hurricanes have taken a big step toward solidifying themselves defensively.
© Photo courtesy of Holland College
Nicole McInnis, a keeper from Hazelbrook, has committed to the reigning Atlantic Collegiate Athletic Association (ACAA) women’s soccer champions for the upcoming season.
The sport and leisure management student brings plenty of experience to the table, having represented Team Atlantic at the Canadian Soccer Association all-stars competition, as well as the P.E.I. provincial all-star program, where she’s currently a goalkeeper coach.
She was also a P.E.I. School Athletic Association all-star with Charlottetown Rural, and McInnis believes her experience against strong competition will help her transition into the ACAA.
“The experiences I have gained with these teams will aid with the transition on and off the field,” she said. “Having played with skilled athletes, and being directed by talented coaches, the jump to Holland College has been well prepared for.”
She also represented Team P.E.I. at the 2013 Canada Summer Games in Sherbrooke, Que., where she played with fellow Hurricane recruits Jill Curley of Summerside and Hannah Oatway of Kensington and second-year Hurricane Kristin Hood, who was a former teammate at Charlottetown Rural.
“Having the privilege of playing with and against most of my new teammates throughout my high school years is definitely beneficial,” McInnis said. “The familiarity with these girls will make the switch to collegiate soccer much simpler since we are used to working together on and off the field.”
Hurricanes head coach Kris McKinnon calls McInnis one of Atlantic Canada’s top recruits.
“Nicole brings a high level of experience to our squad,” he said. “She has competed at numerous national club and all star competitions, as well as the most recent Canada Summer Games.
“Nicole has great vision and athletic abilities that will be a tremendous asset.”
Though she could have gone many different places to play, McInnis recognized the opportunity presented by staying on Prince Edward Island.
“Playing in front of a home crowd is something any athlete can appreciate,” she said. “Having such a supportive family, this will no doubt be an advantage for myself, knowing they will be there in the stands cheering me on every step of the way.”
As for where McInnis hopes the season goes, she’s got a clear objective.
“I’m looking forward to fighting for championships alongside a team of strong, talented girls,” she said. “With the coaching of Kris (McKinnon) and Derek (McEwen), this fall will no doubt be a great season for the ‘Canes.”
Early-season preparations have already begun for the Hurricanes, who will kick off their ACAA title defence in Fredericton, N.B., against the St. Thomas University Tommies on Sept. 6.
The team’s home opener will be against the Dalhousie Agricultural College Rams at the Terry Fox Sports Complex in Cornwall on Sept. 13.