HANOVER, NH – The news came inside a white envelope with the Truro Daily’s address handwritten and the iconic green lettering of Dartmouth College on the front.
Catherine Berghuis was named captain of the women’s hockey team.
The only surprise was the medium itself. I mean, who sends letters these days? The news itself was no shock. Over the last three seasons, the Truro native has built her reputation as a leader at the Ivy League, NCAA college. Last season, she wore an ‘A’ on her jersey.
However, in a conversation last week, in the middle of her second day of classes, Berghuis was quick to deflect the attention away from her self.
“It’s not about the letters with us,” she said. “Obviously you need one to speak to the officials and relay messages for your coach, but we’ve got such a strong group of leaders in our senior and junior class, it’s not about the letter.”
She’ll share the captaincy with Laura Stacey, a Kleinburg, Ont., native who suited up for Canada’s development team the past two summers. Stacey, a great-grandaughter of Hockey Hall of Famer King Clancy, led the team in assists last season.
At the start of the month, Berghuis headed back to New Hampshire for her senior year. While she’ll have another year at Dartmouth to finish her engineering degree, she won’t be eligible to play hockey next season.
A few moments have struck her so far, but she’s doing her best not to get caught up in sentimentality of her final season.
“I’m not really big into the whole last-first thing,” she laughed. “I see everybody freaking out on Facebook, posting their last first day of school pictures, but that’s not really me. I tend to lay low a bit.”
She did have one of those moments during an off-ice fitness test with her teammates, however.
“It just kind of struck me that I should enjoy every second of it,” even the exhausting fitness testing, she said.
Last season, Berghuis scored three goals and added seven assists in 30 games. The Big Green finished eighth of 12 teams in the Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference with a 13-15-2 record. This year, they are ranked seventh going into the season.
“We try not to look into the rankings too much, because they’re really almost arbitrary at this point,” Berghuis said. She noted, however, they feel they are better than their rank. “It’s a motivator.”
Berghuis said she’ll keep her game the same, “doing all the little things right, or trying to at least,” but expects to be involved more offensively.
Off the ice, she is following in the footsteps of her father and studying engineering. She attends the Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth, one of the top design schools in the world.
She credits her coaches and teammates, as well as the school’s philosophy, for keeping her focused.
“Dartmouth is big on finding what you’re passionate about away from sports,” she said. “It’s definitely not the easiest thing to balance, but I like to think at the end of my four years I’ll look back and realize what a great experience I had here.”
Any spare time she does get, she spends playing guitar or exploring the area through hiking and biking, she said.
“I guess I should really start re-evaluating that now though. When the spring semester comes around and there’s no more hockey, I’m going to have all the time in the world.”
Berghuis isn’t too keen on getting ahead of herself, however. She’s seen first hand how fast time goes by.
“It’s like in a blink of an eye, it’s senior year.”
No, not that Dartmouth
What: Dartmouth College
Where: Hanover, NH
Founded: Dec. 13, 1769
Fact: One of nine colleges founded before American independence
Alumni: Mr. Rogers, Dr. Seuss, Robert Frost