Kelly Babstock hears Canada calling
Freshman leads conference in goals, 8th in nation
Canada won’t have to look far when it builds its ice hockey team for the 2014 Winter Olympics. With 43 points racked up in 27 games, Quinnipiac freshman Kelly Babstock is already on Team Canada’s radar.
“Kelly has been in our program the last three years,” said Melody Davidson, who coached Team Canada in the 2010 Olympics and currently is the team’s head scout. “We definitely have our eye on her.
“She definitely has a passion for the game, and she’s very skilled offensively.”
The Mississauga, Ontario resident has been sharpening her skates for the past 12 years in preparation for when the time comes. After years of watching her older brother, Jack, play hockey, Babstock entered a house league, where all teams play at one rink without having to travel.
“My dad got me into [hockey],” Babstock said. “I looked up to my older brother because he played hockey, and my dad’s like ‘okay, we’ll go to the house league.’”
The 18-year-old continued to tally points when she joined Team Ontario Red in the U-18 National league and the Toronto Aeros in the Provincial Women’s Hockey League.
“I don’t really think on the ice,” Babstock said. “It just happens. Sometimes I don’t even know what happens, I just, like, blackout, and whatever happens, happens.”
Quinnipiac teammates Shelby Wignall and Kate Wheeler played against and with Babstock in the PWHL and the U-18 National League.
“I was always like, ‘I got to stop her because I know she’s so good,’” Wignall said. “One time she hooked me and made me bleed. I had a really big scratch on the side of my stomach, so I knew she was always a physical player, an aggressive player.”
Wheeler, who shares the same last name and jersey number as Babstock’s favorite player, Boston Bruins forward Blake Wheeler, played on the same line as her for the Aeros and got to know her as a player. “She was young and a little immature, but she was a good player, and she was always pushing me to get better,” Wheeler said.
Babstock is currently tied for eighth in the nation in goals scored.
“She’s an exceptional player,” Quinnipiac head coach Rick Seeley said. “The exciting part is I think both her and I realize that there’s still a lot of room for growth.”
Since arriving in Hamden, Babstock has racked up 22 goals and 21 assists and has been featured in Sports Illustrated’s “Faces In The Crowd” for her record-breaking tallies.
“I love it,” Babstock said about Quinnipiac and playing for the Bobcats. “The campus is nice, and I like the team. I had good friends on the team coming here, so it was more comfortable to come.”
When hockey isn’t filling her schedule, Babstock admits that “just laying in bed,” listening to Ke$ha and talking about hockey and life with her roommate are her favorite pastimes.
“She has her ups and downs, but I love her to death,” Wignall said. “And she’s usually always happy with me. Because we live with each other, she hates me sometimes, but she loves me sometimes. And we tell each other when we’re being annoying to each other.”
Both Wignall and Wheeler identified Babstock as a “joker,” and the cause of many people’s smiles.
“She’s pretty quiet until you get to know her,” Seeley said. “But, generally, she’s just a good, honest person. Clearly a good sense of humor. I think at times in her life she’s been a class clown, so she’s fit in really well here.”