TORONTO, Ont. - A former New Glasgow resident is making history in the world of Canadian university hockey.
Kori Cheverie was recently named the assistant coach of the Ryerson University Rams men’s hockey team.
Interim head coach Johnny Duco confirms that she’s the first full-time female coach in men's hockey in Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS).
While she has experience with coaching, the university level is new to her. “It’s a different environment, but it’s a challenge and I like that,” she said.
Cheverie has spent the last three years at Ryerson as a skate-training specialist, where she worked with the Rams hockey program, as well as minor hockey teams.
“Kori is already an excellent skills coach and brings a wealth of knowledge to our program. Her application skills are exceptional as she has demonstrated daily while helping to develop our playbook for the upcoming season,” said Duco.
“We are very excited to add Kori to our coaching staff as she brings great experience, energy, and commitment to our hockey program and will continue to add value to our department as a whole.”
She said the school believes in equal opportunities for men and women, and she applied for the position with the Ryerson men’s team because there didn’t seem to be any space for her on the female side. “When it came time to fill the position, I was qualified and it just happened I was a female.”
Cheverie started playing hockey at the age of 10 as a New Glasgow Bomber. She said when she wanted to join the sport, she made a deal with her mother that she would buy her own gear if her mom would pay the registration fee.
“She agreed, so I gathered up anything I could find to have a yard sale – my things, her things, likely my siblings’ things,” she said, laughing. “And I had a yard sale and made enough to purchase a set of equipment for my first year of hockey!”
Cheverie later played Pee Wee AA on a boys team, and progressing through the levels, played one year of Midget hockey on a female team. She then moved to Toronto where she was a member of the Mississauga Junior Chiefs for two years.
She played at St. Mary’s University in Halifax for five years, and was later drafted by the Toronto Furies of the Canadian Women’s Hockey League, where she played six seasons.
When she was hired as the assistant coach of the Rams, she decided to hang up her playing skates and retire from the CWHL.
“I was still going to see if I could play part-time – I didn’t want to give it up yet,” she said. “With this opportunity… I knew all my focus should be in one place, so I knew it was time to give it up.”
Cheverie said she will continue to be involved with the Furies in a different capacity, helping to run practices once a week.
Her former St. Mary’s coach, Lisa (Jordan) Haley who grew up in Westville, is the head coach of the women’s team at Ryerson, and while they won’t be working directly together, Cheverie said “it’s kinda cool now that we’re colleagues.”
She said Haley had a big influence on her playing days. “She’s a great coach – I admired the way she was able to communicate the game.”
Cheverie said she hopes to emulate some of Haley’s strategies while on the bench. “She always conducts herself very calmly,” she said.
With a natural love of learning, Cheverie takes every opportunity to absorb what she can, and hopes to pass along as much as she can to the university students she’s working with. During her time with the Furies, she said she learned a lot from her teammates who had competed at the Olympics, such as Natalie Spooner.
“I would try to soak in what they have to say… ask a ton of questions. I want to know why they’re doing what they’re doing and what works better. I try to learn something new every day.”
Kori’s coaching career
Assistant coach – Midget AAA female, Halifax
Assistant coach – Team Nova Scotia U17 female
Assistant coach – Scarborough Sharks – Bantam AA female
Head coach– Scarborough Sharks – Midget AA female
Captain – Team Nova Scotia at 2008 Esso Women's Hockey Nationals
Captain – St. Mary’s Huskies
Three-time AUS first-team all-star
Two-time SMU female athlete of the year
SMU women’s hockey MVP
Gold medal – Canada's women's hockey team – International University Sports Federation (FISU) Winter Universiade (2009)
Clarkson Cup title with Toronto Furies
Holds three records with Toronto Furies, including most points, most games played and most power play goals
CWHL’s all-time record holder for most consecutive games played