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Interview with Sydney Kidd of the New York Riveters

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Sydney Kidd is adaptable, fast, talented, and was undoubtedly the missing piece of the New York Riveters' blue line.

Mike Murphy

Sydney Kidd is an exceptional and versatile player on the ice for the New York Riveters and a fascinating person off of it. Kidd, who is one of just three players on the Riveters from Canada, played her college hockey with the Mustangs at the University of Western Ontario for five seasons. While playing with the Mustangs, Kidd piled up 34 points in 112 games playing mainly on the blue line.

Kidd played forward in her final season at Western and was honored as the OUA Player of the Playoffs when she helped lead the Mustangs to the school's first OUA Women's Hockey Championship. In five playoff games Kidd had five goals and an assist, including the game winning goal which directly resulted in the Mustangs lifting the Judy McCaw Memorial Cup.

"I've been here for five years and if there is any time to start playing your best hockey I guess now would be it, so I've been happy with my performance [throughout the playoffs]." - Kidd on her playoff performance.

However, Kidd is a great deal more than just a standout college hockey player. Although visa issues kept her from joining the team until their first victory over the Pride on November 15th, Sydney Kidd has made a dramatic impact on the Riveters' blue line. The Sundridge, Ontario native is a superb skater and is one of those players that can make the game look easy with her composure, positioning, and natural ability. While on the blue line Kidd's game is simple, honest, and disciplined. She's the kind of player that doesn't make any glaring mistakes and doesn't make high-risk plays. Kidd excels at extinguishing dangerous chances in the defensive zone thanks to her quick stick and superb hockey intelligence.

Considering how briefly Kidd has been with the Riveters compared to her teammates it has been astounding watching her find her role so seamlessly and adapt so quickly to the team's system. Kidd's ability to play both forward and defense makes her a dynamic player both with and without the puck in the offensive zone and especially on the rush in the transition game. Since Sydney Kidd arrived in New York the Riveters have simply been a better and more complete hockey team.

Sydney Kidd was kind enough to agree to an interview with Blueshirt Banter and share both the story of her unique and amazing road to the NWHL and how hockey became a cornerstone of her life.

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Mike Murphy: How old were you the first time you stepped onto the ice and picked up a hockey stick?

Sydney Kidd:

Growing up in Northern Ontario it was almost mandatory you learn how to skate as soon as you can walk. I could already skate fairly well when I started playing hockey at age four. I actually hated it the first time I put on hockey equipment, it was so bulky! However my big brother played and I wanted to be just like him so I stuck it out and eventually fell in love.

MM: Were there any athletes that inspired you or that you tried to emulate when you started playing hockey?

Sydney Kidd:

I mostly looked up to my brother Josh (Four years older than me) who ended up being an amazing hockey player in his own right. He was drafted to the LA Kings in 2007! I also started wearing number 4 when I became a defenceman because I wanted to emulate Bobby Orr who grew up playing hockey in a small town a few towns away from mine.

MM: You played with the Western University Mustangs from 2010 to 2015 both as a forward and on the blue line. What position comes more naturally to you?

Sydney Kidd:

I had some funny years at Western because I think my coaches had a hard time figuring out where best to use me so I was constantly back and forth. I would say I am naturally a defenceman because it was ingrained in me at a young age but some of my skill sets are better suited to forward, such as my speed and aggression in the corners. I had my best season at Western last year as a forward.

Sydney Kidd against the Buffalo Beauts.

MM: How would you describe your game and style of play?

Sydney Kidd:

I think I'm an all-round team player. I know how to fill my role on the team whether it's on the blue line or left-wing, during the penalty kill or power play, or even cheering from the bench in the final few minutes. I'm always grateful for the opportunity to play the game.

As a forward I would say I'm fairly quick and relentless on the forecheck. I wouldn't say I have amazing hands and score beautiful goals but I really figured out how to find the net my last year at Western playing forward.

On defence I think I play shut down hockey. I know how to use the body and also block shots. When I was younger playing defence, I was constantly rushing the puck. My coaches used to have to tell me ‘red light' or ‘green light' otherwise I would skate with the puck all game. However, the game is a lot different at the NWHL level and I've taken to being a more responsible defenceman.

"After I got off the ice in Toronto I had to double check what number was on the back of my tryout jersey when they were calling out numbers of people they wanted to come upstairs to sign contracts with. It was so surreal."

MM: Your Riveters experience is a unique one considering how long you were marooned in Canada waiting for your visa issues to clear. What kind of challenges did you or are you facing from joining the team late?

Sydney Kidd:

I thought it would be harder than it's been coming in so late but I can't imagine coming in to a more welcoming organization. My first few practices were tough because everyone was in sync and I was nervous and trying to get some of the rust off but ever since my first game I feel instantly at home in the Riveters organization.

MM: Were there any peculiar traditions you had to adapt to inside of the Riveters' locker room?

Sydney Kidd:

Nothing too crazy I haven't seen before.

MM: Had you ever played with or against any of your current Riveters teammates before the NWHL season began?

Sydney Kidd:

I haven't been able to find any connections from university hockey, we only played a handful of preseason games in the USA at Western. However, we have a bunch of prep school hockey players on our team that I likely played against when I was attending a boarding school in Ontario and playing American schools. I also worked at a summer camp near my hometown (Hockey Opportunity Camp) where Ashley Johnston worked so we knew of each other through that.

MM: When did you hear about the NWHL and when did you know you wanted to join the league?

Sydney Kidd:

I was actually living in Nicaragua this summer for an internship when I received an email from my old coach about the tryouts in Canada. It worked out that I was due to return from Nicaragua three days before the tryout in Toronto. I'd only been surfing and was worried because I hadn't been on the ice since Nationals. So after I flew home I begged the rink guys at my old school for some early morning ice the day before the tryout. After I got off the ice in Toronto I had to double check what number was on the back of my tryout jersey when they were calling out numbers of people they wanted to come upstairs to sign contracts with. It was so surreal.

MM: Is there any particular reason you wear #8?

Sydney Kidd:

I was number 4 my whole life but when Dani asked me what number I wanted and said 4 was taken I decided on 8 and we joked it was because I was planning on being twice as good this year.

MM: What is your favorite hockey memory from your life to date?

Sydney Kidd:

If there can only be one moment it would be winning a National Championship with my teammates in Calgary last spring. We didn't even make our league playoffs my first season so to see my hockey career at Western come full circle with a fairy tale ending was a dream come true.

I also had goosebumps when I officially signed my contract with the Riveters so that was pretty special.

MM: Favorite all-time book? Movie?

Sydney Kidd:

I am shamelessly obsessed with Harry Potter, but I love the books so much more than the movies.

MM: How has life in Brooklyn been thus far?

Sydney Kidd:

It's been awesome! I live with some of the team in the Rockaways and its got such a nice small town feel to it that I feel right at home. The ocean is by far the best part - I love walking along the beach and playing with some of our neighbours' dogs. Then when we're feeling adventurous we head into Manhattan or different parts of Brooklyn for dinner or touristy things. Best of both worlds.

MM: You recently joined your teammates helping to serve dinners at a local women's shelter in Brooklyn. What was that experience like?

Sydney Kidd:

I've spent a lot of time lately thinking about how lucky I am to be alive at this moment in history where women are finally being given an opportunity to play in a league that emulates what the men have had for almost 100 years. Spending the evening at the shelter was eye opening to the kind of struggles that still face women on a very basic human level. They are such resilient women with such spirit - it was heartwarming to be able to give back to these women and the Brooklyn community in a small way.

Fardelmann, Scrivens, Fritz-Ward, and Sydney Kidd at a CAMBA shelter. Photo courtesy of the NWHL.

MM: Do you have any pregame rituals or traditions you do before a game?

Sydney Kidd:

I'm only really superstitious about the way I tie my skates. I always have to tie the left one up first.

MM: What is Sydney Kidd doing when she's not on the ice with the New York Riveters?

"I've spent a lot of time lately thinking about how lucky I am to be alive at this moment in history where women are finally being given an opportunity to play in a league that emulates what the men have had for almost 100 years. Spending the evening at the shelter was eye opening to the kind of struggles that still face women on a very basic human level."

Sydney Kidd:

Exploring! I had never been to NYC before I moved here so I get in to Manhattan whenever I can. I've already been to Times Square, Central Park, Madison Square Garden, Little Chinatown and SOHO. I have a bunch more places I need to cross off my list though. I am also currently searching for an internship. I've taken a hiatus from my Masters degree in International Business back home so I'd love to bring some more experience in something like marketing or consulting to the table when I return to it.

MM: Is there anything you'd like to say to Riveters fans?

Sydney Kidd:

Thank you a million times over. This is about so much more than hockey. It is about never underestimating the power of a dream. None of this would be possible without you. Every ticket stub, every tweet, every cold commute to Aviator, every little girl's nose pressed against the glass. Thank you and stick-tap to you Riveters fans!

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I'd like to an extend an enormous thank you to Sydney Kidd for taking the time to do this interview and for her amazing responses. You can follow Sydney on twitter at @SydtheKidd4 and grab her jersey at the NWHL's online store. The Riveters' next game is this Sunday against the Boston Pride at 3:30 PM on the road. The Riveters have won their last two meetings with the Pride and you can catch the game on NESN.

Thanks for reading, let's go Riveters.