Even the darkest cloud has a silver lining.
Ask Mairead Bast.
A severe injury to her abductor muscle turned out to have a positive side for the Red Deer native.
Bast suffered the injury midway through her impressive 2016-17 rookie season with the UBC Thunderbirds women’s hockey team. It eventually led to her missing the entire 2017-18 season.
“I was injured in January of my rookie season and took four weeks off, but still came back too soon … I pushed it and it got worse,” explained the 19-year-old, who will resume her college career with the RDC Queens this fall.
It was during her time away from the game that Bast realized how much she loved the game.
“I guess you could say it was a benefit being away. I wasn’t sure about playing, but being away I realized how much I appreciated the game … more than ever.”
Despite an outstanding rookie season with the T’Birds, Bast decided she wanted to be closer to home.
Mairead is a perfect addition to the Queens, filling a hole left by fifth-year graduate Cassidy Anderson.
“Mairead is a game changer,” said Coulter. “She was one of the most sought-after recruits in Western Canada (coming out of high school) and we’re fortunate to add a player of her calibre and experience. Our current and new players will certainly benefit by having her around.
“She’s not only highly skilled but has an amazing attitude, a great work ethic and high hockey IQ.”
At the midget level Bast was one of the premier rearguards in the country, helping lead the Sutter Fund Chiefs to a silver medal at the Canadian championship Esso Cup at the Red Deer Arena in 2015.
“That was a great experience, playing in the national final and playing for my dad,” she said.
Mairead spent the following year with the Program of Excellence in Kelowna, then joined the Thunderbirds, despite receiving interest from several American universities.
“I didn’t really want to go to the States … I felt I’d get a better education in Canada and be a bit closer to home.”
Despite playing only 16 games her rookie season she finished with five goals and 10 assists and was named to the Canada West and U-Sport All-Rookie team.
Bast gives the Queens a star local player as they prepare to move into the Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre next season.
“I haven’t been inside it yet, but I’m excited to be part of moving there next season,” said Bast. “I’ve played (minor hockey) with several players on the Queens … it’s exciting to rejoin them as well as getting the support of family and friends.”
Coulter realizes Bast has been away from the game for over a year but isn’t worried.
“She’ll get it back quickly once she’s back on the ice.”
Bast will be in the Business program at RDC, which she hopes to eventually use working for her dad.
“I was in General Studies at UBC, but did take some pre-business classes,” she said. “I’ll try to work with my dad and I hope to bring some fresh ideas. We’ll see how it goes.”
Danny Rode is a retired Advocate reporter who can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org