(FREDERICTON, NB) The building of the UNB Varsity Reds new women’s hockey program continues with the naming of two assistant coaches.
Head coach Sarah Hilworth says that Pamela Pachal and Brittany Esposito will join her behind the bench.
The Varsity Reds women’s hockey team will return to Atlantic University Sport, beginning in the 2018-19 season.
Pachal and Esposito will bring considerable experience to the team.
Pachal, a native of Saltcoats, Saskatchewan, has called Fredericton home for the past decade.
“I came for a visit when my brother was posted to Gagetown and fell in love with the city,” said Pachal. “I never left.”
Pachal played collegiate hockey at the University of Minnesota-Duluth, where she won a NCAA championship, and at Northeastern University.
She earned tryouts with the Canadian under-22 women’s team and the 2007-08 senior women’s national team. Pachal also played in the National Women’s Hockey League, was a member of the silver medal winning Etobicoke Dolphins at the 2008 senior women’s national championship, and is a former World Pond Hockey champion.
“I needed a break from the game, and I’ve had a long break which has allowed me to separate from being a player to becoming a coach,” said Pachal.
“I’m excited about this opportunity,” she said. “UNB has such an incredible hockey history. To be part of it as this moves forward has rejuvenated my love of the game.”
Hilworth feels the program is lucky to have found an asset such as Pachal so close to home.
“Pamela's experience will help enhance our culture of high performance and bring the fundamentals necessary to succeed at the U SPORTS level,” she said. “Pamela's passion, coupled with her desire to engage the Fredericton community, will help our team build a culture of developing role models within our community. We are delighted to welcome Pamela to the Varsity Reds family.”
Esposito, a native of Edmonton, Alberta, also played collegiate hockey at Northeastern University.
She was an assistant captain for the Huskies in her final season, as well as a Hockey East second team all-star.
Esposito was a member of the Hockey East All-Academic Team every season at Northeastern and scored the first goal in the first women’s college hockey game ever played outdoors, on January 8th, 2010, at Boston’s venerable Fenway Park.
Currently, she’s a member of the Calgary Inferno, of the Canadian Women’s Hockey League, and helped the team capture the Clarkson Cup in 2016.
Esposito has served as an assistant coach with the 2015 bronze medal winning Alberta Challenge Cup team, the Calgary Junior Inferno, and the University of Alberta’s Junior Pandas program.
She says she was bitten by the coaching bug while sidelined by injury at Northeastern.
“Sitting out games allowed me to experience the game from a coach's perspective,” said Esposito. “I realized I could help my teammates and still feel like a part of the team.”
“I'm excited to help develop individual skills as well as teach our players to adapt. I look forward to creating a positive and encouraging environment in which players will hone their strengths, while also improving the rest of their game.”
Hilworth is thrilled to be able to add Esposito to her staff.
“Brittany brings recent player experience at the NCAA and pro levels,” said Hilworth. “Working with Brittany will give our team an advantage as she has a commitment to player development and will assist in raising the level of performance.”