By Bre McAdam
On the ice, U19A Team Saskatchewan (Saskatoon Ice) goalies Mackenzie "Mack" Janzen and Matt Henry share the net. Off the ice, they share a friendly rivalry and help make each other better players.
Matt is an 18-year-old former competitive hockey goalie who came over to ringette last year to play with his girlfriend and teammate. Mack, the youngster on the team at 16, is a long-time ringette goalie currently trying out for the 2019 Canada Winter Games team.
They both played in the 2018 Western Canadian Ringette Championships on the only Saskatchewan team to make it to the championship final, earning silver against Team B.C.
Q: Would you consider yourself friends?
Mack: Yes it is true that we are buds, and there is always some friendly competition between us.
Matt: Yes, we are definitely buds. If I had to say we had something it would be a jokingly friendly competition. We both like to goof around with each other and bug one another about anything on and off the ice… mostly off.
Q: What have you learned from each other?
Mack: I have learned to use my stick more so I have more options to pass to, and I play more aggressive.
Matt: The ring has a very different bounce to a puck which Mackenzie has been able to almost master and that's an area I've really watched and noticed and learned from. She knows how that ring is going to come off of her a lot better than I do.
Q: How do you think you've helped each other?
Mack: I’ve helped him learn to control his rebounds so he has fewer rebounds, so he watches me during games and practices.
Matt: I don't fixate, or for that matter even focus, on the game before. I'm not saying I don't care, I just bring an intensity to the game in a much different way which has helped Mackenzie stay relaxed and she has looked to enjoy the game that much more. She also knows she has that relief to come out and catch her nerves when the game's just not going her way. I'd say her biggest improvement is just being able to relax and enjoy the sport she loves so much.
Q: As goalies, why do you think it's important to support each other?
Mack: I think it’s important to support each other because nobody understands a goalie than another goalie.
Matt: It's important to support each other because we're the only two on the team who know how it feels to be our best or to just not be on your game that night. While it's nice for everyone to be supportive and say stuff, it's just not the same as when it comes from someone who has had it happen to them and has been in your spot.