This past week, Winnipeg Ice forward Martina Barclay announced her commitment to St. Thomas University for the 2021-22 school year, where she will study journalism and suit up for the Tommies in Fredericton, New Brunswick.
“STU really went above and beyond to make sure I knew everything about both the hockey program and academics,” Barclay told Game On. “They wanted to be sure that this is where I wanted to go, which I really appreciated. I was planning on leaving Manitoba to study journalism regardless of if I played hockey or not. I am just incredibly grateful that now I can do both, and on the East Coast, which I have never visited before.”
Having spent the past number of seasons double rostering within the Manitoba Female U-18 AAA Hockey League and the Winnipeg Women’s High School Hockey League, Barclay has earned her fair share of experience.
Within her high school play, the speed forward has already picked up the ‘Top Scorer’ and ‘Team MVP’ awards in 2018 with the Kelvin High Clippers, before leading the team in both goals and points the following season en route to the Kelvin High Grade 10 Female Athlete of the Year award. Last season saw ‘Tina’ once again earn the MVP and Top Scorer award, while being presented as Kelvin’s Grade 11 Female Athlete of the Year.
Not only does Barclay thrive on both the high school and AAA sheets of ice, she also has been a keen student within her high school, and her post-secondary education has always been a priority.
“I’d like to continue part of my studies in French, as I’ve been in French immersion my whole life,” the Winnipegger said. “New Brunswick is a bilingual province, so I’ll be able to minor in French. My goal is to be a journalist, and I was lucky enough to speak with the head of the journalism program, Philip Lee, who answered all of my questions about academics and journalism specifically, which was a big help.”
Shifting to time playing AAA hockey, Barclay has skated with the Ice for two-and-a-half seasons. Within that short MFHL career, she has 40 goals and 73 points in 119 total games. 2019-20 saw the 18-year-old collect 10 goals and 22 points in 34 regular season games with Winnipeg. Nine of those were multi-point affairs.
“Being a member of the Winnipeg Ice has been a huge part of my life for the last three years,” she said. “I’ve been missing being on the ice with everyone and can’t wait to start again. Last season was one of my favourite seasons of hockey, we had such a strong team and an incredible playoff run and I hope we can get back to that point if the season resumes. Both of my coaches Jessica and Eugene have helped me and given me opportunities to work on my 200-foot game and have helped my confidence levels based on my play in high-stakes situations and the penalty kill.”
The 5-foot-4, two-way, penalty-killing forward has already accrued four goals and eight points in just five contests in the shortened 2020-21 season thus far. Operating at an impressive 1.6 points-per-game rate, Barclay sits fourth in league scoring and already has had three multi-point outings, including a three-point night in her season-opener against Westman.
“From my very first conversation with coach Peter Murphy I felt very comfortable and at ease,” Barclay reflected. “Those feelings continued when I spoke with girls on the team, admissions counsellors and even the head of the journalism department. I felt a real sense of community with everyone I spoke to and I loved that. I knew the hockey team was very competitive but knew less about the academics. So once I looked more into that and realized they had a lot of what I was looking for in that regard, I couldn’t think of a single reason to say ‘no’.”
Playing out of the Atlantic University Sport Conference of Canada’s U-Sports university athletics program, Barclay will look help the Tommies improve from last season’s 12-15-1 record, to which the team placed fifth in the conference with a -1 goal differential on the season.
“Barclay comes from a strong program and we know she is committed to getting better every time she is on the ice,” Tommies’ head coach Peter Murphy said in a team-issued press release. “She is a strong, fast player with big a big shot who wants to make the difference in any game she plays. Martina uses her speed very well on offence but her ability to use it defensively has allowed her to develop into a true 200 foot player which every coach covets. Off the ice, Martina is a strong student who is very community minded. These are two key components to the women’s hockey program and will help contribute to her immediate success.”