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Summerside native Lydia Schurman's climb to top line, captaincy of the St. Francis Xavier X-Women


As Lydia Schurman relentlessly skates around the ice, it’s a reminder and a lesson for young athletes pursuing goals.

A second-to-none work ethic and a team-first attitude have paved the way for Schurman with the St. Francis Xavier X-Women’s hockey team.

“I’m pretty gritty and go to the tough areas on the ice and just hound the other teams,” said Schurman. “I pride myself on being gritty and we are hoping to be that team that comes in, works hard and outworks teams.”

The 22-year-old daughter of Todd and Sharon Schurman of Summerside is in her fifth and final year of eligibility with the X-Women. Her story is a journey of progression.

“When she came in she probably would have been a third- or fourth-line kid and now she is playing on the No. 1 line,” said X-Women head coach Ben Berthiaume. “She brings her work ethic every day, works on her game and has come into her own as a player. 

“We depend heavily on her in those key situations and she gets the job done. 

“As a centre, she is winning draws, she is doing all the right things and is one of those players you can count on.”

Along with playing a regular shift, Schurman sees regular power-play and penalty-killing duties while taking key faceoffs and is one of the players looked to when the X-Women are protecting a one-goal lead.

“I have kind of adapted to a lot of roles,” said a smiling Schurman, who has two assists in 14 Atlantic University Sport (AUS) regular-season games this year. 

“She has definitely gotten a lot faster and stronger,” said Piusville native Nicole Corcoran, a former teammate of Schurman’s with the X-Women. “She is strong, speedy and plays both ends of the ice really well. 

“She backchecks really hard, helps out in the D zone and is very good in the offensive zone.”

Team captain

Corcoran agreed with the assessment that Schurman’s value to the X-Women extends far beyond the scoresheet. Her versatility, leadership and selection as team captain for the 2019-20 campaign are examples of that.

“I was an assistant last year and it was honestly a huge honour to come back and get the C for the team,” said Schurman. “These girls are like my family. It is pretty special.”

Berthiaume has coached Schurman all five years at St. FX. He was an assistant coach in Schurman’s rookie season and has been the team's head coach for the last four years.

“(Lydia’s) leadership is unbelievable,” said Berthiaume. “She was a leader on the team last year and is a leader on the team for us this year. If you watch her, her work ethic is off the charts.”

Not surprised

Corcoran said she was not surprised when the X-Women named Schurman captain.

“I knew, definitely in her fifth year, she would be captain,” said Corcoran. “She was the obvious choice because any qualities that our coaches would want in a player, Lydia has. It was a no-brainer to name her captain.”

Corcoran added she is not surprised by Schurman’s progress and praised her ability to lead by example.

“She was awesome (to play with),” said Corcoran. “We had never played together before until X, but we knew each other from the Island. 

“She has grown as a player from her first year till now. 

“When she came in she probably would have been a third- or fourth-line kid and now she is playing on the No. 1 line. She brings her work ethic every day, works on her game and has come into her own as a player. We depend heavily on her in those key situations and she gets the job done. As a centre, she is winning draws, she is doing all the right things and is one of those players you can count on.”

St. Francis Xavier X-Women head coach Ben Berthiaume

“She works hard and that makes everyone around her better. She is also so positive. She and I took a lot of pride pumping people up and she was so good on the bench.”

Title pursuit

With her university career winding down, there is one thing Schurman would like to add to her resumé.

“We have come so close to that AUS title, but we’ve kind of come up short every year since I have been here,” said Schurman, referring to the X-Women losing in the conference finals the last three years. “I'm determined this year. 

“It’s my last year and hoping we can get that title.”

The X-Women, winners of three straight and five of their last six games, currently sit in third place at 9-4-1 (won-lost-overtime losses).

"As a team, we have evolved and we have a lot of different skill sets this year,” said Schurman. “One of the biggest things we have this year is speed and we have to use that to our advantage and play gritty. 

“There is so much parity in the league we know we have to give 110 per cent or we are not going to win.”


Schurman's career at-a-glance

Summerside native Lydia Schurman was named the rookie of the year for the St. Francis Xavier X-Women’s hockey team for the 2015-16 season.
Schurman recorded two assists in 24 regular-season games that year after joining the X-Women out of Ridley College in St. Catharines, Ont. She began attending high school and playing hockey at Ridley College in Grade 10.
“The shift of going from playing high school to the AUS is a big jump,” commented Schurman. “My first few years I struggled with that. 
“Our coaches are really big into developing and they worked with me and I think I have evolved into a better player.”
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Academically, Schurman is working towards her honours in biology after doing an advanced major in biology. Schurman added she is looking at pursuing a career in the medical field.
“I am doing a research project in biology,” she explained. “I am looking at grad school and that was another reason I came back to prepare for that.”
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Schurman, who was a plus-2, was named the third star in the X-Women’s 2-1 home-ice win over the St. Thomas Tommies on Saturday night. 


Jason.simmonds@journalpioneer.com

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Lydia Schurman’s regular season statistics with St. F.X. X-Women:

2015-16 – 24 games, 0 goals, 2 assists, 2 points.
2016-17 – 24 games, 2 goals, 3 assists, 5 points.
2017-18 – 24 games, 1 goal, 7 assists, 8 points.
2018-19 – 28 games, 7 goals, 6 assists, 13 points.
2019-20 – 14 games, 0 goals, 2 assists, 2 points.


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