Jefferson Hagen, MacEwan Athletics
EDMONTON – Remarkable stat of the day: Breanna Golosky has three career goals for the MacEwan Griffins women's hockey team and all of them have been game-winners.
That includes the beautiful tally she scored against SAIT last Saturday – driving wide around a defender and going five hole on goalie Kaylin Schellenberg to deliver a 1-0 win for the Griffins.
It's as if the hockey gods are paying her back with the chance to play hero after spending most of her career to this point as a healthy scratch on game days.
"It's a huge step up for me," said Golosky, who played sparingly in 24 games over her first three years before finally hitting the lineup regularly this season. "I absolutely love it. Three years in the stands was a lot for me. But I worked really hard this off-season because I knew if I was coming back, I wanted to play and play a bigger role in winning another championship."
Her teammates were certainly inspired by her heroics on Saturday, happy to see her succeed after so many games of her supporting them in street clothes.
"Yeah there's that adversity piece that everyone wants to see an underdog succeed, but it speaks again to who she is as a person and how much she cares about everybody else," said MacEwan head coach Lindsay McAlpine. "Bre's not quick to judge anyone and is there in support, regardless of the role she's playing.
"It's hard to ask the girls who are sitting out to be supportive … and put a smile on your face. That was something she always did, so for them to be able to now get excited for her, it's awesome to see it come full circle."
Following the 2018-19 season, she and McAlpine had a pivotal one-on-one meeting that led to where she's at today. The coach challenged her to have a big off-season of training to move from the stands to the ice on game day.
"I pushed her to make a choice in that summer to either – and not that she hadn't bought in before – but to really buy in and invest and change aspects of her off-ice fitness that would increase confidence and bring that onto the ice," said McAlpine.
"I think a lot of players in that situation would have walked away and Bre did the exact opposite. She did everything that I asked and probably more. She came to training camp and was a different player on so many levels. It speaks a lot to her character."
Golosky leads MacEwan (9-3-0-0) into a semester-ending series against Olds College (3-7-2) on Thursday in Olds (7 p.m., ACAC TV) and on Friday at the Downtown Community Arena (7 p.m., ACAC TV).
Breanna Golosky drives around SAIT defenceman Misty Seastrom to score the only goal in the Griffins' 1-0 win over the Trojans last Saturday (Joel Kingston photography).
Golosky's perseverance is borne out of her upbringing in Fort McMurray as the daughter of two firefighters. While mom Cheryl is now retired from the profession, dad Kelly is still active more than three years after the unforgettable and tragic wildfire that burned a portion of Fort Mac.
At the time, Golosky – who is Metis – was representing Alberta at the National Aboriginal Hockey Championship in Ontario when she received a call that her hometown was on fire.
"My brother and sister got themselves out and my dad went to work right away," she recounted. "We didn't have much contact with my dad there, it was a little scary."
He worked for two weeks straight.
"I think it was probably three days before we heard from him because he's a battalion chief, so he was trying to organize and more or less trying to get trucks out to where the biggest fires were," said Golosky.
Looking back now, she's proud of what he and his fellow firefighters accomplished to save as much of Fort Mac as possible (their own house wasn't affected, but the home of Golosky's grandmother burned down).
"Obviously, at the time it was pretty scary," she said. "I would have preferred him not be there. Even my mom, she used to be a firefighter – she's retired now – so growing up I was always proud of my parents. To be able to say they put people's safety over their own is pretty cool."
That selfless nature has rubbed off on Golosky, who has done everything she could to support her teammates and do what she could in a limited role to contribute to MacEwan's three-straight ACAC Championships.
"It definitely was really mentally challenging to always have to be sitting in the stands," she said. "There were definitely a lot of times when I thought about not coming back and I think just the camaraderie of the girls kept me coming back.
"Even in practice when I wasn't playing to push the girls harder on the ice helped me, too, to get better and get where I am today."