|Robyn Rittmaster, Ottawa Senators
While Ottawa Senators fans know that goaltender Robyn Rittmaster is fast on her feet in the crease, few of them know why. The truth is, she’s also a talented soccer player — a forward, no less. In fact, soccer was the vehicle for Rittmaster’s first national-championship win.
Rittmaster played both competitive soccer and hockey growing up in St. Margaret’s Bay, Nova Scotia. At 16 years old, hockey became more serious when she represented Nova Scotia at the Canada Winter Games. When Rittmaster graduated high school, she moved to Calgary for the national hockey team development program, but made her mark on the soccer field when her University of Calgary varsity team — with Rittmaster as a striker — won the CIAU championship in 1998. Meanwhile, she also played for the Calgary Oval X-Treme and the Calgary Dinos hockey teams.
Although she was a last cut from the Canadian National Under-22 hockey team in 1999, Rittmaster continued to develop her game with the Oval X-treme and the varsity team at U of C. When she graduated, she entered a Masters program at the University of Alberta in Edmonton and minded the U of A’s net in back-to-back national championship wins.
Now in Ottawa working as an economist for Health Canada, the Senators’ number one goaltender still manages to fit soccer into her busy training schedule with the Senators. She’s pleased with how it all turned out.
“Playing in the CWHL is an honour and a huge accomplishment,” she says. “It means that I can be challenged every game and play against the best players in the world. I feel fortunate every time I step on the ice.”
And the Senators are fortunate to have Rittmaster on their roster with her serious work ethic and dexterity, which she attributes to her years playing soccer.
“Robyn is a great goalie. She’s like a sixth player on the ice,” says Lyne Landry, general manager of the Ottawa Senators. “Her puck handling skills are fantastic. She’s very vocal, very competitive.”
As many goalies do, Rittmaster has a quirk: She prefers to keep her physical distance.
“Our team often makes fun of Robyn’s ‘bubble,’” says Landry. “She doesn’t like having people in her personal space.”
That’s not a bad thing in a goalie. If Rittmaster is able to continue keeping people — and pucks — out of her space, she’ll have a long career.
“Who’s under the equipment” is a weekly profile of a CWHL athlete written by Anne Douglas (www.herhockey.wordpress.com).
- Pre-game meal: Sandwich and sports bar
- iPod: Everything but country
- Advice for young players: Love the game
- Workout schedule: Practice twice a week, a goalie session, several spin classes and yoga. In the summer, more gym workouts and soccer
- Off-ice hobbies: Soccer, volunteer for Ottawa Humane Society