LETHBRIDGE, ALTA. — In her second year with the University of Wisconsin Badgers, Dara Greig is a national champion.
The Lethbridge-born sophomore said the celebration hasn’t quite died down since Saturday’s big game. “The support here from the fans is crazy so it still feels a bit surreal,” she said.
The Badgers took down the number one ranked Northeastern Huskies 2-1 in overtime when Toronto-born forward Daryl Watts banked in a shot from behind the net.
“A lot of the older girls had been in that situation before so the leadership from them was huge and seeing them be so calm kind of led the younger girls to calm down,” said Greig.
The title is a significant feather in the Greig family’s already decorated cap.
Dara’s brother Ridly is currently playing in the WHL for the Brandon Wheat Kings and was drafted 28 overall by the Ottawa Senators this past October, and her sister Kyra also has a handful of competitive hockey under her belt after playing three seasons with the Lethbridge Pronghorns.
A lot of the family’s hockey success is thanks to being around the game from a young age.
Their dad Mark Greig was drafted in the first round of the 1990 NHL Entry Draft by the Hartford Whalers after racking up the points with the Lethbridge Hurricanes.
He went on to play more than 1,000 professional hockey games including 125 in the NHL for the Whalers, Toronto Maple Leafs, Calgary Flames, and Philadelphia Flyers.
“There were always three staples that I always really remind [the kids] of. One is fitness, to be able to play at the top level you have to be in top shape,” said Mark Greig.
“The other ones are preparation to be able to give yourself the best chance to succeed and the third one is attitude.”
Greig added that his three kids have always had a competitive nature and that he thinks that aspect of their game has served them well.
For Dara and Ridly, that competitive fire is still fuelling their respective careers.
“It’s really cool for her to win a national championship. I guess she kind of one-upped me with that one, but it’s pretty exciting for her,” said Ridly.
“He’s got a huge future and bright things ahead of him. I don’t know if he can top this, but I guess we’ll just have to wait and see,” said Dara.
When the dust finally settles and the celebration of the NCAA title dies down (if it ever does), Dara Greig will be back on the ice training and preparing for next year as the Badgers hunt for their third-straight national title.