Ottawa’s PWHL team finished their practice with a chant.

“One, two, three, Ottawa!”

Safe to say, their head coach, Carla MacLeod, says, anticipation is high for the next game.

“We’re excited to play, there’s no shortage of wanting to play.”

Ottawa was supposed to have already played against Boston, but some bad weather got in the way. A winter storm disrupted flights and traffic, factors, MacLeod said, no one can control. Still, there’s a silver lining.

“We’ve been able to take advantage of the opportunity to practice a little bit more and work on some other details.”

Now, Ottawa’s second-ever game is on Saturday against Toronto. MacLeod said an Ontario rivalry is inevitable.

“The Ontario rivalry is a fun one. I think anytime anyone’s playing Toronto, there’s always an energy there. Because they’re such a great team, it won’t be lost on us at the opportunity to create that rivalry. But you have to earn that.”

Ottawa’s last drill at practice stoked some friendly competition in the form of a shootout. MacLeod said the competitiveness within her team allows players time to be themselves.

“Really all you’re doing is letting them be who they are in those moments and it’s great. You have to respect that.”

Savannah Harmon and Ashton Bell both play defence for Ottawa and took part in today’s practice. They bring plenty of experience. For Harmon, her time in the 2022 Winter Olympics, along with the rest of her years in women’s hockey, has been a huge contribution to the team. 

“My experience and my past have shaped me into the player and person I am. I bring my experience, bring my leadership and do whatever this team needs to propel,” said Harmon.

The team has no shortage of leaders, added Bell, even if some of them don’t sport a letter on the front of their jersey. 

“We have so many leaders in this group,” she said. “Bringing the energy every day is what I’m setting my goal for this group and being a good communicator and teammate.” 

Before coming to Ottawa, Bell was the captain of the women’s hockey team at the University of Minnesota Duluth. She said she learned plenty from Duluth and grew as a player, person and leader. 

“I definitely want to bring some of those skills I learned here.”