Breann with her Pod teammates in Season One, when it all began in the 2015-2016 season.


"Everything teaches transition, transference, metamorphosis: therein is human power, in transference, not in creation; and therein is human destiny, not in longevity but in removal. We dive and reappear in new places." Ralph Waldo Emerson (Journais 1820-1824)

In Season One, forward Breann Frykas wore uniform #1 for a couple of games for our Pod. Signing on with Harry Rosenholtz under the NWHL’s Practice Player designation, a fairly common, but loosely defined convention in the first couple of seasons of the league. The story of how Bree became a pro hockey player and where she’s gone since, contain the essence of Emerson’s quote above. We recently had a chance to chat with Bree about this and find out how transference of herself and her skills have shaped her life.

Breann is a Canadian, and we spoke with her on Canada Day, And with the restrictions and protocols of the pandemic, international travel is difficult. We wondered how Breann was dealing with that, and and how and where she was dealing with pandemic in general she informed us

“I live up in Branford , CT, and for the most part I can’t go see my family. So I was lucky enough to get my TN 1 Visa renewed with my company about a week before Covid started. So I was very fortunate to have that happen, because my visa expired at the end of May. I was granted an additional three years with Boston Scientific (my employer). That was awesome, super thankful for that. Super thankful I have a job, work has actually been crazier than ever. The only part that kind of stinks is, I have a house now and it’s the first summer I’m in my house so it would have been nice for my parents to come down, but obviously the border’s closed. I probably won’t be seeing them in the immediate future. You can go home to Canada, as a Canadian, but you have to stay there for fourteen days. With my job, being in and out of the hospitals, it’s just not an option right now. It could be worse, and I’m just thankful I’m safe and have a house. I’m not stuck in an apartment like I used to be in, which is nice. I always try to look at it from the positive side. My Dad sent me a picture of a beach up in Winnipeg, and it looks like a bar, people just stacked everywhere! It doesn’t look so great. It’ll be interesting to see what the numbers are with COVID after this weekend if people aren’t smart.” 

Breann continued "I work for the Endoscopy Division of Boston Scientific. We are one of the largest medical device companies in the world. In Endoscopy globally, we’re the market leaders. What we essentially do, is treat a lot of cancer patients, we create med devices that help cancer patients avoid going to surgery, or are less invasive, if they are not a surgical candidate. Cancers like pancreatic, colon, esophageal, and gastric. In my old job, before I got my new role in April, I was actually the one in the cases, kind of teaching the doctors what to do with the new modalities that they would offer patients. But now I just got my new role so I’m not doing that as much anymore. It was tough because a lot of the elective procedures got paused because of Covid. Obviously, cancer patients are immunocompromised, so we were doing that virtually through different platforms and support like FaceTime. Now I’m Regional Development Manager so I have my own team of six District Managers (my old position) who do that in the hospital. So fortunately I don’t actually have to be the one inside the hospital anymore. My team is deployed in the hospitals and we’ve given them the PPE to go into the cases. That’s important, because a lot of the time the doctor’s can’t complete the cases unless they’re there, sowe are considered essential staff. So I’ll be home for the foreseeable future. I am up at Bristol Hospital next week, but I am dealing more with the budget owners, or head of supply chain, I’ll go visit the main doctor’s at Yale, I’m actually having dinner with them tomorrow night, just trying to be strategic about how we can connect with them outside the hospital environment. But for the most part my team is in the hospitals now, and I’m managing that. Which is kind of nice based on the timing, and everything that hit. It will be interesting, I’ll be covering all of Boston, Rhode Island, Springfield, Hartford, and obviously southern Connecticut as well. I’ll definitely be traveling once things open up to see how my team is doing in the different hospitals during the week. But right now I’m trying to enjoy the time at home while I can, there’s no need to have an extra person in there if you don’t need to right now."

Breann comes from the Winnipeg area inManitoba, about ninety minutes above the US border in North Dakota. We asked her to tell us a little about her home and what it’s like looking back to where it all started for her. She replied

“I was born and raised in Winnipeg, and my family moved to East Saint Paul, Manitoba when I was thirteen, and everyone is there still. I left when I was sixteen to move to Detroit to play for Little Caesar’s, and haven’t lived back home since. I’ve lived in the states now for thirteen years. It’s kind of crazy when you look back and think of how long it’s been. In my career, I sometimes even forget hockey was a part of my life sometimes. It seems so long ago, I’m like a female in a business world that is predominantly male, and I’m so focused with my career and so busy, that sometimes someone will say: Oh, you played hockey? And I say I did and they look me up and say: Oh, you we’re actually decent at the time! But you forget about it, you kind of forget about that part of your life sometimes, because you get focused on the next goal or accomplishment. But then when you remind yourself of it, you’re like: Wow, that was a great time in my life! There are a lot of transferable skills that make you successful not just in sports, but in your career or in your life based off the experiences and people you’ve been around. “

Bree added: “I love where I grew up, it’s part of who I am. But at the same time, through hockey, I’ve gotten so many different experiences. New York City was a place that when I grew up we dreamed of from watching TV. It wasn’t a place I ever thought about really going to. And now I can go there every weekend, and sometimes when a I’m on the train thinking when I was a little girl this was something I could hardly dream of and now I can just go there. It’s kind of crazy to think about those little things that you take for granted sometimes. And to just realize how far you've come, in terms of the experience and the perspective. It’s definitely a different lifestyle living in New York. In Winnipeg the are great but there’s not a lot around Winnipeg, so sometimes you get stuck in a bubble, or a way of life. Everything is more slow paced than the East Coast, where things go at a lot faster speed than even the rest of the United States!

So Cetacean Nation was curious how hockey came into the picture, and Bree enlightened us with some unusual aspects of that!

“It’s just something you grow up doing, you’re starting at four, five, or six years old. My Dad was a hockey player, and my little brother was two years younger than me. So my Dad started out having us skate, and I ended up being a decent skater. But the only reason he put me into hockey was so that my little brother could get started! If you had an older sibling on the team, you could start a year earlier. So he was four and I was six, and Dad kind of put me in as the guinea pig so my little brother could start at four instead of five. And I ended up scoring something like sixry goals that first season. So my Dad was like: Let’s kind of stick with this. I was a decent skater, and that’s kind of how it started, playing for the the Oak Bluff Blues on the same team with my little brother. My Dad was super passionate about it. Obviously my uncle (Barry Trotz) played for Regina Pass and he coaches for the Islanders now, so it’s kind of inate. My cousins played for the Selkirk Steelers, so it’s just kind of a big culture of our family as well. So, that’s kind of how it started or me”

Immersed in all that hockey at an early age, we wondered if she tried her hand at any other sports. Bree enthusiastically replied

“Everything! That’s one of the things I kind of hate about sports these days, I kind of think it’s gotten to be so competitive. That like you have to keep playing your one sport all the way through the year, to where don’t have time for the other sports. That’s why what I always did, play hockey, but, also every other sport. I played baseball with the boys until I was thirteen, played competitive softball until I was fifteen, and my life guarding came from my swimming team. I played on the middle school and high school volleyball team, the basketball team, badminton, and track. Sports was my thing. I was never the most fit athlete, but coordination was more my thing. I pitched for a little bit in softball, and I still play slo pitch, and actually volleyball. Volleyball pretty competitively right now. My parents were big believers (in multi sports) and I wish it was more like that now. You need a break sometimes. I didn’t always make hockey the priority, there are a lot of great sports out there and sometimes it’s good give yourself a rest and reset. There are different coordination things that are cross trained as well. Transferable. So I definitely played everything growing up and I wish that I did even more, but there ‘s just not enough time. And to be really good at one you have to dedicate your time to it, one versus the other eventually, once you get to a certain age.”

Breann as a Little Future Draft Pick, dreaming big dreams while skating for the Oak Bluff Blues back home in Manitoba.

So we asked Breann to tell us about how hockey came to be that sport. for her, the one she dedicated to. She explained

"I played boys hockey growing up, so I didn’t know anything different. There was girls hockey but it just wasn’t at the level it is at now. I think the biggest breakthrough maybe, when I was younger, when I really put myself on the map, was when I made the AAA Boy’s team in Winnipeg, for the Winnipeg Sharks. There had only ever been three females that has made AAA, Chelsea Karpenko, who’s a year older than me and was also on the National Team with me. She made it the year before me. But I played summer hockey for the Manitoba AAA organization right around when I was eight. So that is kind of what started to push me through. When I was 13, I made the boys AAA team, and that was a big Wow! I got my team Manitoba tryouts from there too. And then I started playing both boys and girls hockey in the summer around age 14, and that’s when I started scoring 4, 5, 6 goals a game. And everyone was like: Hey! Who is this person? You start talking about it now like this, and it sounds kind of crazy. How do you score 6 or seven goals a game, that seems so cocky! But it happened back in the day, however many years ago, so that’s a little bit of the snippet right around those two events.”

Before Bree went to Michigan, which she mentioned earlier, to join Little Caesars, she had some great moments with Team Manitoba. She revealed

 “Usually to play on Team Manitoba you have to be 17 or 18 years old, so I played as an underager. We went to the 2007 Canada Winter games, so I would have been 16 just then. So I went there and finished that, and then went to Detroit the next summer. So With Team Manitoba, we finished with the Silver Medal at the Games, against Team Ontario. If you look at that Team Ontario, like every single girl on that team was on the National Team! We were just a little Manitoba team, but it was good group of girls there and we did well. Then I played on Team Manitoba the next two years, which were my real years I was eligible for and that’s when I started to get scouted by Mel Davidson. It’s funny, she just posted her retirement from Hockey Canada yesterday. She was the head scout, and that was when they started to do the whole scouting for U18 program for Team Canada, so a lot of the scouts were at the Canada Winter Games in 2007. That was when they started the first national camp.”

 So one of Breann’s most significant transferences was of herself, geographically to the United States. Here’s how she explained the way that came about, and turned out.

“I played boys hockey as a 13 & 14 year old, so that was Bantam 1 & 2. After that I was too small to play with the guys, I would have gotten hurt if I played Midgets. So as a 15 & 16 year old, I played at Balmoral Hall (prep). They started an all girls travel hockey program there. Essentially most of us went to school there free on scholarship. All the girls I played with were a year or two,older than me, so I went in as a 10th grader and played for two years.Then the next year everyone graduated, and there really wasn’t anybody left on the team that was going to help me accelerate to the next level. So my parents were looking at different options, Shattuck-Saint Mary’s, for example, but financially that wasn’t an option. And they have scholarships and stuff, but still it was US dollars and they really couldn’t afford that. But an opportunity came up while we were at the JWHL tournament. One of the coaches had come to my Dad about an opportunity with a Detroit Little Caesars. And the cool part was, Madison Packer at the time was on that team, and her and I ended up living with her family for that year. We were in school together, and we trained on the same Little Caesar’s Team. And while I was on Team Canada U18 she was on Team USA U18 and we trained together for the whole year, and it was a great way to accelerate my development for that last year prior to college. “

Bree added "I did Team Canada for two years, the Lake Placid Series and the Toronto Series. The first two years I made the U18 team in the Series, but I was the last cut for the World Championships in Calgary. I think the only U18 players that made the squad were Fortino, Poulin, and Jenner. Actually, Fortino is a year older so Poulin and Jenner were the only U18 that made the team. I was kind of defeated there, and then I came back the next year and played at Lake Placid in the Series. Then went to Germany for the World Championships with the U18 Team where we won the silver medal. The US beat us in OT. Madison and I lived together at that time, so you can imagine that! Then we went on to win the state championship in Michigan together right afterwards, in March with a Little Caesar’s."

Bree had put together an impressive resume on the ice by time it came to choose a college. Wisconsin is where she ended up, but it was not a  simple choice. She explained

"Honestly, Wisconsin was not my first school of choice. I was fortunate enough to get a scholarship offer from all 41 Division 1 schools. I was a lot better going into college than my college career ended up being:) I definitely think it was under performed. So originally I wanted to go Ivy League, I was always pretty bright in school, but my parents weren’t financially very well off. So I looked at Ivy League schools, Dartmouth was one of them. I actually went on an official visit there, and loved it and verbally committed to go there. And then of course Wisconsin, it was the #1 hockey school school. One of the reasons I ended up deciding to go there was because my family could come to all my away games. Living in Winnipeg,  Wisconsin is ten hours away, going to North Dakota is two hours, Saint Cloud is five, and Minnesota is seven. So, that was a big draw. My parents came down to do my official visit with me, which really helped the feeling. It was a big kind of social environment, which is a big part of my personality. So that’s what drew me there, and obviously them being the #1 team. I was super competitive and wanted to be part of it. But the last piece is, going Ivy League they don’t give out full ride scholarships. And with my Dad having his own business that was growing at the time, I couldn’t put my family in that (financial) situation there. I’d heard horror stories where the first year is $5,000 and the following year was X amount of dollars based on the income of your family. So that’s a lot of the reason I chose to go to Wisconsin, other than geography and it being a good hockey program, and academically it’s a good school. So those are some of the reasons why.”

Even though Breann only played two seasons of her college career at Wisconsin, her sophomore year was pretty special. In the 2010-2011 season, her Badgers won the NCAA National Championship. She recalled

"That team I’ll never forget! ! You probably could have put anyone behind the bench that season, we were just so intense! Practices were like games! Our healthy scratch players could have been a top line player on every team. Everyone’s work ethic, and the team environment had the purpose everyday just to make everyone better.. There’s been nothing else I’ve been a part of like that. It was a really cool team culture, and you’re practicing against Olympians every single day. So definitely a cool experience. I definitely think being a part of that team was a highlight of mine, I learned a lot. I faced a lot of adversity that year. It wasn't an easy ride. I definitely started off really strong. I played a regular shift, but I wasn’t on special teams. There was a different perspective from the coaching environment, where on a different team I might have played a little more. So it wasn’t an easy year for me, but overall as I look back, it made me a better person and a better player by going through that experience. And so I think ultimately too, just understanding the betterment of the team, team success versus just my own as well, was key. So a big piece was the adversity and perseverance of that experience, not only our team winning, but from my personal growth as a person. It was a big part of that dynamic.”

Before we spoke about her next transferance, again of herself to Quinnipiac University, we asked about her height. The Badgers had  listed Bree as 5’4” and the Bobcats a year later as 5’5” Bree explained she hadn't grown an inch, and clarified 

 “I think it can go either way! I’m probably honestly 5’4.5” It just depends on how they want it, I definitely didn’t grow an inch in that period of time. Maybe they measured me with skates on or I had a ponytail that day:) At the doctor’s I’m 5’5” or 5’4 ¾ “ but I say 5’5”, it makes me feel better"she laughed.

So Cetacean Nation asked Bree to set the record straight on her transfer as well, and she did so, admitting

“It wasn’t an easy decision. My going to Wisconsin as a school was literally one of the best experiences of my life. I truly look back on my college career and regardless of the hockey statistics, everyone wants theirs to be better, I think I got the best of both worlds. I went to a Big Ten school, a big environment, then I was able to go to a smaller East coast school, where hockey was the dominant sport. I’m very thankful for both of thise experiences. The people I met at Wisconsin were awesome. But the reasons why I left? I was frustrated, I wished I played more. And I was at a point where I thought I deserved a little bit more than I was getting. That’s OK, that happens sometimes. A lot of people have different styles of coaching and different player profiles that they particularly scout for. The easy thing to do would’ve probably been to just stay at Wisconsin. I would have played a lot my junior and senior year, And keep in mind that my freshman year at Wisconsin, it was not traditional. We had none of our coaches. Coach Johnson wasn’t there, and Dan Cook left to go to Shattuck-Saint Mary’s. It was a very tense year for everyone first coming into college.”

”I had two years left of hockey and I had to kind of do what I had to do, to put myself in the right environment. Like when I look back in 20 years, what would that look like? I was also super passionate about Cass (Cassandra Turner, Assistant at Quinnipiac). Originally while Cass was at Colgate, she was someone I stayed close with through the U22 program with team Canada. So I started having coversation with Cass. and decided to to do something different.And I really thought Cass was a coach that could help develop me, and pursue my goals. So she was a lot of the reason why I went to Quinnipiac. There were certain schools that Wisconsin would not let me transfer to when I was looking at doing that. There was interest from other schools in the same conference so specifically they would not let me transfer to those. Or anyone we were playing the next season for example BU, they were playing them the next season. So super happy that I did it. I played so much at Quinnipiac, and I was able to be a leader on the team. it’s so crazy the environment of the school It’s such a different world! Even though Wisconsin is a Big Ten school the facilities at Quinnipiac are amazing! And that’s where you spend the majority of your time. From the schooling perspective, it was really eye-opening for me. I had always been a good student. But in a Big Ten school you’re in a class with 500 people:) I never used to go to class, I would literally just teach myself and go to my exams because I did not learn from somebody just lecturing me.”

Breann heading up the ice for the Wisconsin Badgers against Boston University.

"So I went to business school at Quinnipiac with classes of just 30 people The application side of things is a lot more beneficial in terms of what you would utilize in the work force rather than a lecture style.So that was another big piece of it. And I knew I wanted to go to grad school so I looked into places that had a good grad school program. So those are the kind of kind of why’s I chose Quinnipiac. After I did my official visit I was sold. I also had two teammates I played with in Winnipeg: Chelsea Illchuck and Regan Boltin who were both on the team at Quinnipiac and were both fellow Winnipeg people. So that made me so comfortable going to a school where they could tell me firsthand what it was like. And it’s scary too, because when you”re a transfer, there can be a kind of stigma. Like: What’s wrong with he, what’s the problem? But I am very thankful that my senior year Coach Seeley brought in another transfer, Shiann Darkangelo, and it helped change his perspective on transfers. And Coach Seeley has had his own challenges, and after I graduated he left the team. That’s a whole other conversation and I have my own opinion on that."

“I was happy that I would be able to provide enough, that Quinnipiac would give me an Assistant Captain roll my senior year. That also helped break that transfer stigma. It’s like okay forpeople to make different decisions, it doesn’t mean they’re a bad egg. They just had to make a change for themselves. It’s funny, you don’t know at the time, but life has pointed you in a direction. And when I look back on it, I could never imagine my life different. But like living in Connecticut, who would’ve thought that I would be the only Bobcat still living 10 miles away from the school! And as a transfer, however many years ago. It’s funny how it all works out:)”

 “And now there are a lot of different girls who reach out to me because I did my transfer, and ask me about it. And I’ll tell them: Don’t just go to the best school. Sometimes it’s not the right move for you. Your first two years at a school that’s even in the top ten, you might develop so much more than from the opportunities you got from going to the best program, and kind of playing on the JV side. Not saying you should do one or the other, but it is definitely something to take into consideration. Every coach is going to tell you, when you get recruited, you are first or second line. And you assume because you get a full ride athletic scholarship that might be what it means. But you have to take everything into perspective and understand who’s on the team. And the numbers are the numbers. They may have a different opinion on your play, than maybe you do. “

Breann had a great first season at Quinnipiac, leading the team in power play goals and totaling twenty points, mostly on defense, for a program that was just beginning to make noise on the D1 hockey scene. She finished the season especially strong, with six points over her last four contests. But, “life has a funny way of sneaking up on you” as another Canadian, Alanis Morrisette once wrote. And Breann explained the ups and downs of her Bobcat days.

"Quinnipiac changed my life, it taught me it was not easy. I mean I went from practices where we’d only do flow drills for 45 minutes to the grit and adversity at Quinnipiac. To being a leader on the team where I was in kind of an old-school style, which I actually love. I would not say that there was a particular moment, but I think the day to day enjoyment of the people there’s as special. We all had a different why and maybe weren’t necessarily the best players from all over the country. But we were the hardest workers and we brought that pride to what we did every single day. I ended up playing defense my junior year by November time, so I played defense for almost my whole junior year because it was the best thing to do for the team. I played defense on power plays and kind of just helped out in whatever way possible. So for one moment, I would say my junior year when we played at UConn would have been one of the big highlights for me. My Dad came down to visit, and that was a moment where I knew I made the right decision. I played like forty minutes of the game, and it was just like, I was getting better, I was making the people around me better, the team was getting better. Sometimes with an underdog, there’s just that feeling of perseverance. It wasn’t easy, but when you make it, it just feels so much better. “

She added wistfully "But my senior year at QU was tough. I came in at my best weight, best shape, and I really felt like it was my year. I came into to the team as a captain, and I was centering the second and fourth line. This was everything I had been hoping for and I had put myself in the best possible position to get invited to a Team Canada camp. That was ultimately the goal. But, I got hurt. I had two knee surgeries that year that I battled through. The first time my knee wasn’t treated correctly, so I wasn’t able to redshirt after they did the first diagnosis with my MCL and my meniscus. And my synovial plica was stuck as well (a membrane surrounding the knee joint) At the same time, the third game in against Mercyhurst , I took a face off and lost the feeling in my left shoulder. I was getting tingling in my hand, right around the time I was getting my knee done. My fingers were turning blue as I was sleeping at night! Literally the day I found out about my knee, I got the MRI results back on my shoulder, and the labrum was totally torn, along with my rotator cuff. It was rough! I was one of the captains of the team, and why I transferred was to get to this point.”

Bree continued  

“So I ended up getting the knee surgery, and doing a quick rehab, but I was never as good when I came back. There just wasn’t enough time to fully heal. In order to play the last eight games of the season, I just got cortisone shots in my shoulder, and I got my shoulder done after the season. So I had a rough mental battle, because it was everything I had worked for my whole life, and I’m graduating. What am I going to do next in life? I don’t ever talk about it, but it’ll always hit a soft spot what that was like, because I never got a chance to end my career on a good note. I guess that’s why I’m so passionate about my career now because I’ve tried to put my time and energy into something else. Because it was OK to recognize I was not going to be a pro athlete, there’s was no money in women’s sports. I’m thankful I got a full ride scholarship for four years and got my grad school paid for. It was time to close that chapter and start up a new one. My parents wanted me to move home, but I didn’t want to do that. I kind of went against what everybody else wanted me to do. I needed something where I could make something of myself. What’s going to be next now that hockey’s over? So I basically put myself through grad school, and I worked in the graduate assistant program at Quinnipiac Athletic Department. I overlooked all the scholarships for the athletes, and basically did two years of grad school in one year. I got my MBA double major in Operations and Supply Chain / Healthcare Management. So I worked forty hours a week while doing a double classroom workload. My parents were going to pay for grad school if I moved home, but I did not want that. So that’s kind of the story of grad school, the best decision I ever made. I came out with my MBA at 23, an now there is no way that I would be able to go back and do that with the work load I have currently on my plate.” 

Breann Frykas #9, Assistant Captain of the Quinnipiac Bobcats

But as we know, Bree’s career on the ice did not exactly end, and she is part of the history of women’s sports that is the NWHL and the Connecticut Whale. So two years after her last game as a Quinnipiac Bobcat, Cetacean Nation wondered how Bree came to the Pod, and what that was like. She reflected and said

“So I was playing for a weekend team, Team Connecticut which was kind of a senior women’s league after college for a little bit. And when the NWHL and the Whale started up, I was working retail at the time before I started my new job. And Harry Rosenholtz was involved with Quinnipiac and the NWHL at the time. Harry had helped recruit me to QU. I had talked to him before, when he was over at Yale, as well. So he brought me on board with the Whale, and honestly, if I had stuck with it and been more dedicated I could have played regularly. But really, when they approached me to come play, I had already started to transition into my career. I told them since I was working eighty hours a week, I could only be a practice player. I’d skate once or twice a week. The practices were all the way in Stamford, it was something to do to get back in shape at a high level at practice, versus just going to the gym. Not to necessarily play the games. But when it came to the games, they’d ask if I could come to some, but after I’ve been working with cancer patients all week, the last thing I want to do is get on an eight hour bus ride to Buffalo! I appreciate the people that can do it, and there was a time and place in my life for that. But my career was now my focus. I am very thankful for the experience with the Whale, it was super cool to be a part of hockey history, that was new. And I am very glad that I stayed involved. There were also a lot of changes with coaching, some of the hiccups of the league, trying to get it to a well oiled machine. There was a lot of unknown, for example there was some difficulty with the girl’s visas. But ultimately, you put a group of girls together who played college hockey, and we’re going to be pretty good. It’s going to a good time, it’s going to make you better, that’s why we do it , the whole experience of it.”

 She added “Super thankful I got to be a part of it. It it wasn’t for my career being so demanding, I would have loved to be more involved in it. But I just had to make the mature decision, and figure out long term, what was more important to me. I played a few home games, mostly in the beginning, helping out here and there. All home games, I didn’t go to any of the away games. But it was cool! All the little girls there, that was awesome! I never had that when I was little. So just to see the development of the game over a period of time is pretty neat. And, there were other players I'd known, like Kaleigh Fratkin, who had played at Little Caesars with myself and Madison Packer a little bit. There were different people who we all had been connected to at some point in our careers. Molly Engstrom went to Wisconsin, Kelli Stack was on the National Team and I knew her through Brianna Decker at Wisconsin. There were so many different networks of people, which made the experience really neat. It’s so cool, because it’s all about those people. You learn so much from each other, and the whole experience of it. In my career now, I hire D-1 athletes, I have a Cornell lacrosse player on my team, I have a Women's softball D-1 player on my team. We just did an event about how sports skills transfer. There are so many skills, and that grit mentality, that becomes part of your life. Those experiences of bringing those people together is the one thing I miss right now. Having all of my friends in one place. This week we were going to have a little bit of a Quinnipiac alumni get together and have it at my house. But with Covid, that’s on the back burner. But that’s what makes it so neat, that people piece of it. Overall, a great experience, forever and super thankful for it.” 

“You know, I played boys hockey my whole early career and never got hurt. Sophomore year of college I was intending to get labrum surgery post graduation. It wasn’t something that was life threatening. but over time needed to be repaired. I’m playing men’s league twice a week now in Shelton, and I’m probably better than I was when I was playing for the Whale, because I’m on the ice more:) I hadn’t played in awhile and I just threw on skates maybe a month before. I’m in better shape now, but you’re never the same. I think my knee is a lot better but with my shoulder, I still can’t do a full push up. You graduate, and they don’t pay for your recovery. I don’t need to do it anymore, there’s no reason to push it to the point where I’m going to hurt myself more, either. That was the other thing . To play with the Whale, all it takes is a weird run into the boards, and I have to pay for a $50,000 surgery that previously was paid for while I was a college athlete.”

Breann also has some thoughts about staying involved in hockey in another, unique way. She revealed

"I know Babs (Kelly Babstock) and Shiann (Darkangelo) are in Toronto, and I actually did a Quinnipiac alumni weekend in Toronto with Emma Greco last year. It’ll be nice for them to start up there in the East, because the travel line from Buffalo, Connecticut, New York makes sense from a cost standpoint and a travel schedule schedule. That’s a good sign. And one thing I have been talking about with Cass Turner, was I wish there was a better women’s alumni network with colleges. A cool part is you bring alumni together they are more prone to give resources back and be educated about what’s new and how they can help. It’s good for the community. I would like to get involved at some point, because I feel there are so many female athletes that graduate college these days. And there are two different groups that need help. One is the group of girls that are looking to go to college. I wish when I was 16 years old that there was someone that I could have talked to, my parents didn’t know what college was. To be able to help look at the different colleges, and the pros and cons, and find the best fit. And the other group are players dealing with things like work visas. Katie Tabin, she played at Quinnipiac, she just called me the other day, and she is fighting the visa process in the US now. As a Canadian it isn’t easy, the networking to get the visa. I’ve been fortunate enough to get with a company that pays for the visa process, but it’s not easy if you don’t know the right people or route to get there. So two things that I’m passionate about are bridging those gaps. I may not be a pro athlete anymore (or never was depending on who you ask:), but would like to be able to help those people who have taken their career to the extent they have. And give what advice I can to help make themselves successful. Because I feel a lot of people get into that rut of being not really sure of what’s next for them. So providing them insight and direction, that would be so helpful. “

We concluded our conversation with Breann by remarking how we have always felt even if they never pulled on a pair of skates, the women who have played for the Pod would be great role models in their off ice careers as well. Bree agreed, and offered

“I appreciate that because sometimes I feel I’m looked down upon, because I didn’t go as far in my hockey career as planned. But in my job I’m the first ever regional manager before the age of thirty. There’s only two females across the whole US that are at that trajectory level. So for me, my goal now isn’t to be a pro or Olympic Athlete, but to be the VP of the largest medical device company in the world. It ‘s different, but it is kind of cool that people might look at that,. Because sometimes I think it gets lost, if you are not a doctor or lawyer they don’t really understand other industries and what that means or where they’re at. I went to business school, and I never thought in a million years I’d be in the medical device industries teaching doctors what to do, and how those two career paths end up meeting at some point. I was lucky to just have it fall in my lap, and I’m like: Do people actually schedule this to happen in their life? I didn’t even know about it. In my procedures I’m thinking: I’m a hockey player who finished college, why am I telling doctors what to do? But then, you’ve gone to mini-med school, learned the stuff, worked hard and it continues. If you set goals and work hard, it will pay off in one way or another. Learning that work ethic is the best part of sports. I think anyone who has the opportunity to play in a team environment should. Even in my slo pitch softball league, we have such a great time, and great team camaraderie. Those people become your family. I know for me, my friends are my family because my family isn’t that close:) So it’s cool! And Cetacean Nation thinks our former #1, OW Breann Frykas and her message of transference is pretty cool too! We thank Breann for her unique and compelling content, and know that she will always be wearing a hockey sweater under her business suit. Fins Up Forever Breann!

Breann reppin' the blue and gold with her Quinnipiac Senior Class