Winnipeg product Julianna Duma has officially signed to play for the York University Lions women’s hockey team for the 2021-22 season. The 17-year-old is currently in her second season with the AAA Winnipeg Ice, following a productive career with the AA Winnipeg Twins and both the St. Mary’s Academy Prep and High School programs.
“I am super excited to start hockey in a university and moving away and being on my own for once, so that’s going to be nice,” Duma said in an interview with Manitoba’s ASTV. “I’ve always kind of dreamed of having that opportunity to go away and play for a university team. It just so happens to be York University, and I’m super happy to do that.”
The 5-foot-8, 135-pound forward serves as an alternate captain for the Ice, where she helped her team reach the final against the Winnipeg Avros in the spring of 2020, prior to the league-wide COVID-19 shutdown. Despite some unfinished business with her Winnipeg-based rival, Duma has returned for her Grade 12 season with the Ice.
2019-20 saw the soon-to-be 18-year-old suit up in 55 total games for Winnipeg. Duma collected 14 goals and 27 assists for 41 points (including 17 multi-point outings), as well as 43 penalty minutes on the year. In putting up 168 shots on net and finishing a +24, she was one of the Ice’s most lethal all-round weapons within its arsenal. And despite dealing with an upper-body injury in the early going this season, Duma has a goal, a penalty and nine shots to her name in just two contests this season.
Beginning her developmental days with AA Twins head coach Eugene Kaminsky, Duma built a strong relationship with the veteran bench boss, and has since followed him to the Ice, where he has since taken over coaching duties.
“Eugene was a really good coach right from my very first year of Twins,” Duma reflected. “He taught us a lot and our practices were high-tempo. It was that time right between Peewee and Bantam, and I really felt the shift right there; that was when I began to take hockey more seriously. He was a really good coach for that. He taught us what to do mentally, off-ice, on-ice, and I really grew as a player from that first year of AA. I have since grown from where I am now to AAA and have the opportunity of having him as a coach again now. He has made such a great program and is just a great all-around coach.”
Now, Duma will prepare for the upcoming 2021-22 fall season of U-Sports hockey, where she will join her current Ice captain and longtime friend Sara McLennan with York University. Knowing a few names and faces certainly helped the future psychology major make the decision to join the Lions, while all her conversations with the recruiting team have gone over quite well.
“I have been in contact with the coach (Dan Church) for almost two years now,” Duma added. “He’s a super nice guy and every single time we either had a call or a Zoom chat, everything he had to say about the university was just amazing. It made that commitment just so much easier.”
With the 2020-21 season currently hanging in the balance, Duma and Co. will look to get back on track when things do resume hockey-wise. Through five league games thus far, the Ice are in third place with a 3-1-1 record. The AAA MFHL is set to pick back up in the new year, following Manitoba’s public health order.
York University 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.