Well deserved award for dedication

by the sportsguy

When young people decide to pursue their dream in sports, whether individual or team, they require excellent tools of support to keep them healthy, fit, and competitive.

Unfortunately, injuries can, and will sometimes, sideline the athlete’s endeavour to compete and complete their progress during their journey. That is why a sports therapist is essential to ease the burden when derailment occurs and to get them back on track to continue their adventure. Kemptville 73’s has that in aces with Sarah Nichols, as she performs her duties with expertise and professionalism when a player is damaged in the trenches during a battle. Every year, the CCHL recognizes their best therapist and trainer with an award in appreciation of their skill and dedication.

Sarah grew up playing competitive hockey for the Ottawa Lady Senators and always knew she wanted to be involved with athletes. After sustaining a career ending injury just before entering Grade 12, she had to divert her direction from athlete to student. This was a very hard pill to swallow, but she recognized she wanted to help prevent other athletes from experiencing this same kind of end to their careers. So she pursued her undergraduate degree at the University of Ottawa.

While in her fourth and final year of her degree in 2015, and undecided which direction to follow after graduation, the HEO U18 AAA league was created. Her dad, GM Terry Nichols of the Kemptville 73’s organization, told her of an opportunity to get involved in hockey. He offered her the position as trainer for the U18 team. It was a no brainer for her, as she would be able to be part of the hockey world, and also practice the skills she was developing at the University of Ottawa.

She received an Honours Bachelors of Science, specializing in Human Kinetics in 2016 from the U 0f O, and just recently completed her Masters in Osteopathic Manipulative Sciences at the Canadian Academy of Osteopathy in March of 2022. She now holds the designations of Osteopathic Manual Practitioner and Registered Kinesiologist, and is a Shift Concussion Management Level II Provider.

Throughout the past seven years, she has had the good fortune to experience numerous opportunities in her career of choice. She has been the therapist for various All Star Teams at the U18 AAA and Jr. A level. Since 2018, she has been the lead trainer for the CCHL and U18 AAA leagues, also trainer for the 2018 Eastern Canada Cup, and was selected to represent HEO at the 2020 Gold Cup, which was cancelled due to COVID 19.

Since 2015 she has been with the 73’s U18 program full-time, and part-time with the Jr. A organization from 2015 – 2018, and full-time Head Therapist as of 2018.

This is the second consecutive year for her to win the CCHL Trainer of the Year after receiving it for the 2019 – 2020 season. The CCHL is very fortunate to surround themselves with many Team Trainers and Therapists with years of experience and knowledge. When asked about winning the award Sarah stated: “The CCHL is very fortunate to have many great team trainers and therapists with years of experience and knowledge. It feels really surreal to be recognized by my peers for my work and skill set, this is something I’ve worked very hard at over the last decade to build. The real reward comes from working with the players daily, helping to keep them in the game and prevent injuries from occurring. We have a really great group of players and staff this year which make going into the rink every day an easy choice.”

The 73’s has launched into a playoff run with Sarah as Head Therapist, and she will be beginning her career in early May as an Osteopathic Manual Practitioner at Vitality Physiotherapy and Wellness Centre in Kemptville. She is very excited to serve the community she calls home.

During her first three years with the 73’s, Sarah was extremely privileged to work with Ashley Hill, owner of Podium Sports Therapy Clinic, who acted as a mentor to Sarah. Ashley shared her extensive knowledge, helping Sarah to feel confident and comfortable while developing her trade skills. She also wanted to send a bouquet to the ownership group of Shawn Fensel, Jason York, Joe Jeffries, Craig Whitten, and Paul LeBreux for their all their support and encouragement throughout the years.