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March 30, 2023

See How She Got Started: OUA & Ontario Tech University Hockey Player Nicole Escano


See How She Got Started in the OUA

Anchored in the efforts to spotlight Ontario University Athletics (OUA) student-athletes, the initiative See How She Got Started showcases and tells the story of how some of the conference’s talented student-athletes first got involved in sport and have made their way to the varsity stage on which they currently shine.  It is also hoped that their stories can inspire young athletes to aspire to compete in varsity-level sports.



Meet OUA Athlete Nicole Escano 

University - 

Ontario Tech University


Sport -

Ice Hockey


Year of Eligibility -

4th Year


Hometown - 

Kingston, Ontario


Program of Study - 




How did you first get involved in your sport?

I grew up in a hockey family where my dad played hockey and my brother played hockey. I started playing boys hockey as a very young player.  At age 11, I began to play girls hockey. I finished my minor hockey career playing for the Kingston Junior Ice Wolves in the PWHL. 


What most interested you about your sport that made you want to pursue it at a high level?

Given that my brother and my dad never got the chance to play at a higher level like the oua, I wanted to be the first in my family to play at such a high level. It's amazing to have the chance to work on a degree in criminology and to have the chance to play the sport I love at the same time.  


Was there a specific moment/experience that led you to believe you could compete in your sport at a high level, and if so, what was it?

I think an important moment for me happened While I was playing Midget (U18) AA. My coach asked me if I wanted to keep playing once I graduated high school at a higher level. This particular coach was the person to open my eyes to the opportunities to play at a higher level.

I think also think the opportunity to be a call up player for the Kingston Junior team as a midget player (U18) provided me with my first interaction with a high level scout. This for me is the time when I realized that I wanted to play hockey at a higher level and that I knew I could if I kept working hard at my game.   


What is your fondest memory/experience of being involved in your sport thus far?

I would say for me, to have the opportunity to be a part of many teams, to make life long friendships, and to be able to create so many memories that will last a life time have been the best parts of playing hockey.



Is there someone who inspires you to continue to pursue your sport at this high level (i.e., coach, professional athlete, family member, etc.) and what makes them an inspiration to you?

My family has always been my biggest supporters and will always be my biggest supporters. They are the ones that I work so hard for. They have shared so much of their time with me - whether it's the long hours spent at the rink or at the gym - they have helped me to get to where I am today.  


What excites you most about continuing your athletic journey at the varsity level within the OUA?

I think what excites me the most is the fact that I get to play on a team that is more like family to me. As a team, we work though the highs and lows and, no matter what, we are able to still come together and play the game we all love. 


What is/are some of the more unique aspect(s) of your sport that others may not know about?

Skating as fast as you can on a 1 inch thick blade is hard. Some of the best hockey players still fall when learning new skills. When you play hockey, there are always new skills you can learn and improve on. I don't there is a time when you can think there’s nothing else for you to work on. There's always a million other things you can focus on to make your game better.  


If someone else was looking to start playing your sport, what one piece of advice would you give them to get them started?

I would tel that person to buy those skates, the equipment and don’t look back. I would also tell them to remember that, while the game may be hard to play at times, you are strong enough to get though it.  Make sure your having fun playing too. 



What is one critical thing that you do to try to continue to experience improvement within your sport (i.e., specific drill/exercise, training regimen, routine, etc.)?

I spend a lot of my training time working out to improve my strength and conditioning. I also try to stay on the ice for that extra little bit and put in that effort if you need to do to be better player.


What would you say to your 10-year-old self about playing and staying in sport?

I would tell my 10-year-old self that it will be hard at time. It will be hard to be the only girl on the ice so take that transfer to girls hockey and don’t look back. I would also tell her to be proud of how far you have come and don’t be scared to do new things.  


Is there one strategy that you find works well for you in creating a positive student/athlete balance in your life?

I think it's important to have a calendar. This will help you to know when your games, practices and workouts are so you can stay on a balanced schedule. It's also critical to get lots of sleep to help be ready for any sort of last minute changes. in your schedule. 



Head to the SWSCD Athlete Advisor, your online athletic business directory. Find, rate and review programs, local community offerings and businesses that will help you do your thing.  

Start a group around a physical activity in your neighbourhood. Explore events. Check out our SWSCD Hub.

Look for advice, stories, news and more on our Ice Hockey activity page.  

Have a sport, recreation or physical activity accomplishment you'd like to celebrate and shout out through SWSCD?  Become a SWSCD member and share your story directly on SeeWhatSheCanDo. Or, simply add the hashtag #seewhatshecando to your public social media posts and SWSCD can help you inspire others around you.


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