The Stingers goaltender talks about her career, her education and superstitions
Katherine Purchase is fresh off of a year where she was awarded the RSEQ rookie of the year award, as well as being named to the first All-Rookie team. She was also named as a second team All-Star and put up stellar numbers with a 95.9 per cent save percentage, and a goals-against average of 1.07.
The accolades did not stop there for Purchase, as the Fondation de l’Athlète d’excellence de Québec (FAEQ), a government foundation for student-athletes in Quebec recognized her work off the ice and rewarded her with a bursary after she maintained a perfect 4.3 GPA in accounting.
“I love math. I’m a math person,” said Purchase. “I knew coming into university that I really liked accounting. I don’t like physics so engineering was out of the question which pretty much leaves me with business.”
“Both of my parents are accountants so I’m really enjoying it,” she added.
When Purchase is not stopping pucks on the ice, she spends the majority of her time studying at the library on campus.
“The team would define me as [a library rat],” Purchase said. “I spend a lot the time at the library. I spend a lot of time studying. I definitely put my work in there.”
In 2014, Purchase was not recruited by any of the Atlantic University Sport (AUS) teams back in the Maritimes which got her thinking about choosing a different avenue for her future in hockey.
“None of the teams in the AUS were really recruiting goalies that year so that immediately led me to thinking that I had to leave the Maritimes in order to play university hockey,” Purchase said. “Last year’s coach Les [Lawton] contacted me. I looked up Concordia and right away I was pumped it was in Montreal. JMSB is a great business school so everything is great on the academic side. I love the hockey program and the athletics here.”
Despite her stellar statistical season last year, Purchase admits that she is having a bit of a down year.
“This year has gone a little bit rockier for me personally,” Purchase said. “We just haven’t done as well as we had hoped, but the nice thing is that we are in a playoff spot and all we need to do is win two games.”
Purchase doesn’t blame anybody and takes full credit for her performances; seeing this season as more of a mental challenge.
“Everyone goes through a sophomore slump. I started pretty early in the season and was mentally tired from school and hockey,” Purchase said. “It’s kind of hard to break the slump once you get into it. I just needed the Christmas break. I was excited to come back. I was excited to get back on the ice again so I feel a lot better now.”
Combining her studies with her on-ice performances is not the only challenge the accounting student has to face. The language barrier is also a reality for Purchase.
“The biggest adjustment is probably French because I don’t speak any,” Purchase said. “I’m working on it. I’m getting a little bit better. I am going to try to get in a French course next year.”
Purchase also pointed out that Halifax was similar to Montreal in terms of being a big city. Although, Purchase did mention that she finds Montreal to be more multicultural than Halifax.
On a lighter side, Purchase doesn’t think she is the goofy character that people assume goalies to be. In fact, she has a love-hate relationship with the stereotype.
“People immediately think I’m weird as soon as they find out I’m a goalie, so that’s kind of hard to deal with,” Purchase said. “I hope I am not abnormally weird compared to everyone else. I don’t have too many superstitions. Just the way I put on my gear. I have to go left to right then right to left and I also have to chew gum.”
Purchase also added that she doesn’t want her superstitions to get in the way of her real preparation.
Purchase doesn’t rule out going pro but maintains that her degree is the priority. She credits her mom as being the ultimate hockey mom and confessed that former Tampa Bay Lightning forward Martin St-Louis is her all-time favorite player for his “resilience and passion for the game.”
Purchase still has a few years left with the team and when it comes to her past and future success, she said that she doesn’t let it get to her.
“I don’t really put much thought into it. I just kind of keep my head down,” Purchase said.
Purchase’s experiences as a minor hockey player, have allowed her to give advice to younger goalies that she has helped coach.
“I never really had much success in my minor career. I never made any provincial teams or had anything like that happen to me,” Purchase said. “Whether one of the coaches thinks you’re good enough to make the team has no effect on how good you actually are.”
“You’re still as talented before or after you get cut off of a team so don’t worry about it,” said Purchase.