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Lakers ink high caliber local player

“It is very special. Moving back my grade twelve year has been a great experience in terms of being able to both play and live at home. I am looking forward to play for my hometown for the next five years.”
Maria Dominico with two of her former minor hockey coaches in Darren Turcotte (L) and Vito Castiglione (R). Photo submitted.

The Nipissing Lakers women’s hockey team has hit a home run by grabbing another high caliber local player. 

The program, led by head coach Darren Turcotte is excited and proud to announce the signing of local product and current North Bay Ice Boltz forward Maria Dominico.

The former Durham West Lightning player took a step back from the PWHL, returned to North Bay to be closer to home and has chosen to continue her career with the Lakers.

Originally, Dominico planned on staying with the Lightning, where she posted impressive numbers, proved she could play at a high level – which was evident if you’ve seen her play – and had interests in heading to the United States to play NCAA hockey.

Instead, the plan has now changed and the Lakers couldn’t be happier.

“We are very fortunate to add a player of Maria's calibre to our lineup.  As our program continues to grow in the future we look forward to seeing her grow into a leader on our team,” Lakers head coach Darren Turcotte said.

In two seasons with the Lightning, Dominco posted 33 goals and 21 assists, good for 54 points in 71 games.

She also had six points in 10 playoff games.

Now, Dominico has become one of the Ice Boltz leaders, as she hits the ice with her sister Malory and has taken a real mentorship role within girls’ hockey in North Bay.

“As university is starting to approach faster each day, it is becoming more real. I am very excited to sign with the Lakers and can’t wait to be a part of the program,” Dominico said.

“Although it took me a while to make this commitment, I now realize that this is what I want and I could not be more thrilled.”

Prior to moving back and starting her new path, Dominico’s standout seasons saw her selected to Ontario Red twice as she participated in the U18 National Women’s Championships in 2015 and 2016, winning goal both years.

The 17-year-old will add speed and skill to what is already shaping up to be an impressive lineup for the Lakers in 2017-18.

Turcotte isn’t looking past the current season – in fact, far from it – but he does know the benefits of locking up players when he gets the chance to continue moving his program in the right direction.

A player that can help his team do that, a local player and a good kid makes this move one that Turcotte is excited about.

“Maria possesses an overall skill set that I would consider to be in the top five per cent in the country for players her age.  She has great open ice speed, tremendous mobility and her skills with the puck are extremely good,” Turcotte said.

“We look forward to seeing her increase our overall team speed and become the offensive player in the OUA that she has proven that she can be at all levels.”

With an already solid recruiting class, Turcotte continues to assemble a team that can and will be competitive for a numbers of year.

Dominico and Turcotte both know the transition will be challenging, as it always is when you jump up in both age and caliber, but they are both confident in what’s to come.

“Personally, I would say that my style is unique. I spend a lot of my time working on things such as skill, in terms of creativity and stick handling. I would say that I play with speed but also with an edge,” Dominico explained.

“My first year I am hoping to get a feel for the style of play and use it as a learning experience. As the years pass, I am hoping to grow as both a player and person and take on more of a leadership role.”

It was maybe a bit of luck that saw Dominico fall into the Lakers’ lap, however, the luck ends here and the hardwork for both her and the program will continue.

“I make it a point to talk to the top local players as well as players from Northern Ontario to give them the option of staying closer to home to continue their academic and athletic careers.  Maria will have the opportunity to play in front of family and friends for the next five years and we look forward to watching her grow on and off the ice with the Nipissing Laker program,” Turcotte explained.

Dominico is now counting down the days to suit up with the Lakers and begin her career at Nipissing.

“It is very special. Moving back my grade twelve year has been a great experience in terms of being able to both play and live at home. I am looking forward to play for my hometown for the next five years,” she said.