Game On Magazine’s 2019 Co-Female Player of the Year might be at home self-isolating, but her life is still as busy as ever.
After completing a sensational freshman season for the NCAA Division 1 Robert Morris University Colonials, the second-place team in College Hockey America with a conference record of 13-5-2, Raygan Kirk — who shared player of the year honours with another goalie, Wisconsin’s Kristen Campbell — is still spending her days going to school.
“After we lost that playoff game, 2-1 in overtime, to our arch-rivals from Mercyhurst (the first-place team in CHA), they sent us home early,” Kirk said between on-line assignments at her parents’ home in Ste. Anne.
“We were told there were no more classes on a Wednesday (March 11) and then by Sunday (March 15) we were sent home. But I’m still busy. I have school on-line and it’s definitely different. I’m majoring in Environmental Science and we just had a lab on-line. That’s so weird. A lab on-line. So I’ve been spending a lot of time studying and trying to just get outside for a few hours during the day.”
Regardless of the season’s final outcome and regardless of the fact, she’s still in class, Kirk was extremely satisfied with her first season at RMU, a small university of 5,000 students in Moon County, Pa., just 30 miles from Pittsburgh.
The 19-year-old member of Canada’s U-22 Women’s Team, Kirk played in 26 games overall this season and had a goals against average of 2.05 and a save percentage of .925. She had a record of 15-8-1 and was the team’s No. 1 goaltender by the end of the season.
“It was a really good season,” she said. “I definitely got to play more than I thought I would. Our coach told all of the freshmen at the start of the season just to work your hardest and play as best you can and you’ll get a chance. The way it worked out, I got to play a lot. For a freshman, I was really fortunate.
“But I won’t forget losing that playoff game in overtime to Mercyhurst. I’ve seen the video lots of times and it still hurts.”
Raygan moved with her family to Ste. Anne when she was seven, in 2007 and started playing hockey. She began as a defenseman, playing on the boys’ team and was probably the top D-man on the local novice squad, but her brother, who is a year younger, had always been a goalie and she wanted to play in goal, too. By the time she was nine, Raygan was a full-time netminder and the move has definitely paid off.
After three terrific seasons with the Eastman Selects in the Manitoba Female Hockey League U18 AAA, she led Team Canada to the World U18 Women’s Championship and was the tournament ‘s most valuable player. With that, she accepted a scholarship to Robert Morris and was an instant success.
“I really enjoyed my first year and I really like Pittsburgh,” said the 2019 graduate of Lorette Collegiate. “We go hiking and kayaking a lot and we’ll try to get to as many Pirates games as a we can.
“But the year went by really quickly, especially the second half. It’s like it never happened it went by so fast.”
Kirk is waiting to hear what’s happening with the National Team program. There is a camp in May that will likely be cancelled soon and there is an August camp she hopes will go on as planned. But like everybody else, she’s stuck at home waiting for the world to get a handle on this brutal pandemic that has now claimed the lives of almost 100,000 people around the world.
“It’s my second year with that program and yet I’m not sure where we’re at with it. I haven’t heard from Hockey Canada recently,” she said. “Yeah, it’s all just really weird.”