Shute twins share their hockey story
In hockey skates since they were toddlers, Kelsey and Kristen don’t see that changing any time soon
Two weeks ago, Kelsey and Kristen Shute put an end to the AAA chapter of their hockey careers, but are excited to get the next one started.
The twins, who call Harbour Grace home, are both nearly 18-years-old, and have been gliding across the ice for the last 15 years, spending 13 of those with a hockey stick in hand. They say they have their dad and brother to thank for initially getting them into the sport, and that from there, the rest is history.
Both Kelsey and Kristen called hockey not just a sport, but a passion that they both share.
“Hockey is all around us all the time,” said Kelsey, “our family, our friends, our spare time — hockey is involved in it all, one way or another.”
AAA was the first competitive hockey the girls played together, and only two weeks ago they played their last game. Both Kelsey and Kristen admitted that, although they still have Under-20 games coming up, playing AAA for the last time did get rather emotional.
“AAA has been a big part of our hockey career, so it did get pretty emotional near the end of the game,” said Kristen.
Growing up with the sport meant that Kelsey and Kristen spent a lot of time together, both on and off the ice. Their relationship as sisters was built on the hockey rink, and they say playing the sport together for so long acted as a way for them to bond in ways that other people often don’t get to experience.
The game helped build not only the relationship between the two, but also the friendships they made along the way.
Through hockey, both girls have had the opportunity to travel to several places in the country, as well as outside the country, meeting and befriending people from other places, as well as strengthening the friendships they have with their teammates.
Kelsey says that the difference between a friend from school and a friend from hockey are like two different worlds altogether, noting that through hockey she’s been able to make and maintain friends from outside the province, in places like Labrador, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.
Kristen has spent her time on the rink as a player who skates with the puck, whereas Kelsey has been a goalie her entire career. However, they’ve recently taken on positions on the other side of the rink as coaches for Under-12 girls teams, as well as a couple of boy’s teams.
“It’s volunteer work, technically, but it doesn’t feel like volunteer work at all. It’s something we love to do, and seeing the smiles on the girls’ faces is really rewarding,” said Kristen.
“I think at this point, we look forward to coaching even more than we do playing,” added Kelsey, to which Kristen agreed.
The opportunity to pass on the skills the sport has taught them is what keeps them excited about coaching, and they both agreed that the feeling of teaching others what they’ve been taught, and passing on knowledge of the game to someone who loves it just as much is all a part of the rewarding feeling that comes with volunteering as coaches.
Both Kelsey and Kristen feel as though some of their best memories in their lives come from hockey, mentioning in particular the chances they’ve had to play nationally, and adding the entire AAA experience as their favourite part of their hockey careers thus far.
“Hockey’s been a part of our lives, pretty much our whole lives,” said Kelsey, “it’s taught us so much. Pretty much every day, we do something that’s got to do with hockey, but we love it, so it never gets boring or old.”
The Shute sisters say their passion for hockey hasn’t faltered over the last 15 years, and they both look forward to continuing their careers together.
“There’s just no better feeling than playing the game you love with your best friend,” Kristen added.
There’s no better feeling than playing the game you love with your best friend.
— Kristen Shute
Kelsey Shute (left) and Kristen Shute recently played their last hockey game together at the AAA level.