On Tuesday, the York University Lions female hockey program announced the commitment of defenceman Sara McLennan for the 2021-22 U-Sports season and university year. The 17-year-old – who just completed her second season with the Winnipeg Ice prior to the COVID-19 pandemic – will be joining her sister Julia on the blueline in Toronto, after signing her letter of intent.
Serving as one of Winnipeg’s alternate captains for the 2019-20 season, McLennan led all Ice defencemen with five goals, 24 points, 34 penalty minutes and +23 rating in 58 games. The 5-foot-9 blueliner also had five multi-point games, while putting up 70 shots on goal and finishing the shortened season with a 0.43 point-per-game average.
McLennan – who recently celebrated her 17th birthday – improved drastically from her one goal, 16 points, 40 penalty minutes and +7 rating from 2018-19 – her first season with the Ice. This past year the team finished in second place, going 31-17-1, and had a spot in the provincial final against the Winnipeg Avros.
The Winnipeg product spent her prior years of minor hockey with the Winnipeg Twins AA organization, while also suiting up for both Team Manitoba U16 and the Bisons spring hockey program. Heading into her Grade 12 year at Vincent Massey Collegiate, the mobile rearguard is expected to serve an even larger role as a third-year Ice player and university commit.
The 2021-22 season will see McLennan join her sister Julia (2000-born, kinesiology major) at York University, where the two will likely spend up to two years playing for the same U-Sports program. The Lions went 25-12-0 in 2019-20, losing to the University of Toronto Varsity Blues in the McCaw Cup Conference Final before the U-Sports National Championship was called off due to the spread of COVID-19.
Second-year defenceman Julia McLennan had one goal, three points and 22 penalty minutes on the season. Including the elder McClennan, seven members of the 2019-20 Lions squad were of Manitoba descent, while six would remain eligible to play for the team in 2021-22.