Julianna Herman

December 1, 2023

Red River Métis athlete making waves in NCAA Division I Hockey

The Red River Métis athlete competed in the National Aboriginal Hockey Championships for Team Manitoba, earning gold in 2022, and silver in 2023.

From a farm in The Pas, Manitoba, to Goffstown, New Hampshire, Red River Métis Citizen Julianna Herman has made her mark on the world of Division I Women's Hockey.

The defenceman's time in New Hampshire has been nothing short of thrilling. The opportunity to play with the Saint Anselm Hawks was proof that her years of dedication to the sport had finally paid off.

"When an opportunity like this comes up, it's pretty hard to say no to. Knowing I had people around me, supporting me, and putting my name out there for places like (Saint Anselm) was phenomenal," she said. "Now that I'm here and playing, it's crazy the type of lifestyle and so many differences between (here and Canada).

Herman's career in hockey first began when she joined a minor league team in her hometown, The Pas Huskies. From her early days in hockey, the athlete's family has encouraged her to be the best she can be.

"Me and my brothers would go out to our dugout at the farm, and we'd go and play against each other. I was always kind of a tomboy. So, I made sure I could keep up with them. I hated losing, so they definitely pushed me to compete to my maximum ability," she said.

Following her time in the minor leagues, Herman then jumped to play AAA with the Notre Dame Hounds and attend the Athol Murray College of Notre Dame, where she graduated high school. She said playing AAA hockey in Saskatchewan made her who she is today.

"Notre Dame enhanced me in both hockey and academics. I wasn't a strong academic student before I left home," she said. "Being at Notre Dame allowed me to build on myself. Having that ability to grow there as a person for sure helped me."

Herman graduated high school from the Athol Murray College of Notre Dame and was awarded the Father Athol Murray Award.

The Red River Métis athlete praised the culture at Notre Dame and described her team as a big family.

"Playing hockey there was unimaginable. It was an extraordinary experience being from a small town, having those connections, and meeting so many people," she said.

Herman credits Notre Dame coach Craig Perrett for changing her life.

"Without him, I wouldn't be where I am today in college hockey. (It was a) game changer going (to the Athol Murray College of Notre Dame) and meeting so many great people that helped with my whole hockey experience and high school experience," she said. "I can't thank Notre Dame enough for everything it gave me."

The defenceman played three seasons with the Notre Dame Hounds, amassing 55 games under her belt with 22 total points. In her last season, Herman was the captain of the squad, something she never expected to achieve.

"Knowing that so many people from Notre Dame supported me and having the opportunity to be the captain of that team, leading those girls to help them with their future endeavours in hockey, making them better players all around, and teaching them things that I didn't know as a younger student, but then learnt," she said, "it was great to teach them the experiences that I've experienced."

Herman has earned many accolades, from winning the 2021-2022 U18 AAA Provincial Championship with the Hounds, to placing third in the 2022 Esso Cup, and being named a Second Team All-Star defenceman with Notre Dame for 2022-2023. She was also surprised to receive the Father Athol Murray Award, which honours a Notre Dame student who epitomizes Father Murray's ideals, demonstrating spiritual awareness, effective communication, moral conduct, and leadership through actions.

"My whole goal (at Athol Murray College of Notre Dame) was to make sure that not just myself, but everyone around me, was having the best time they could, and making sure they were exploring who they were as people and working hard at that every day," said the athlete.

"I can't imagine my life without having the support of the MMF and all the amazing life-changing experiences they've given to me." - Julianna Herman

During her time at the high school, the Red River Métis hockey player also had the honour of representing Team Manitoba in the National Aboriginal Hockey Championships (NAHC) in 2022 in Membertou, Nova Scotia, where the team took home the gold and where Herman was named the tournament's top defence player overall. The Red River Métis athlete took home the silver during the 2023 NAHC in Winnipeg. Herman said it was an honour to represent the Manitoba Métis Federation (MMF), which supported her with funds for the championship and hockey camps in The Pas.

"It was phenomenal to have that experience and the support from the MMF in getting me to that," she said. "(I wanted to) make sure everyone knows who the Red River Métis are and that on the ice, we are a force."

Now, as a freshman at Saint Anselm College, Herman has set her sights on making an impact on her team this season.

The Red River Métis athlete described her style of play as being a "stay-at-home defenceman."

"I'm a stronger girl who likes to stay back and make sure that everything on the back end is taken care of before proceeding up into the o-zone," she said. "(I strive to) be that stay-at-home defenceman and provide defence that you can rely on if there's a rush happening. I'm always the strongest person back to help with, regulate everything, and break out the team."

Red River Métis athlete Julianna Herman is playing her first season of NCAA Division 1 Women's Ice Hockey with the Saint Anselm Hawks.

On October 17, 2023, the Red River Métis athlete won the New England Women's Hockey Alliance Rookie of the Week award. During the team's sixth game, Herman accrued her first collegiate point with an assist on the first Hawks goal of the game, followed by two goals to help beat Assumption College 7-3.

While attending Saint Anselm, the Red River Métis Citizen is enrolled in pre-veterinary courses. Herman hopes to complete her major in the U.S. and then come back to Canada to finish her veterinary degree.

"Ever since I was a little kid, I always wanted to help people and help things around me. I've always been interested in making sure that everything around me is in the best shape it can be," she said, adding that she has experience with cows from growing up on the farm. "It's always been one of my passions and dreams to help things. I've always had that little soft spot for animals."

The Youth stays connected to her Red River Métis heritage through Harvesting, agriculture, and being outdoors.

"Having the opportunity to work around different types of plants and (animals) connects me to my Red River Métis heritage and makes sure I have that connection, because that connection is so strong toward me and my family," said Herman. "We wouldn't be able to shape who we are without (our Métis heritage)."

The athlete feels blessed by the support the National Government of the Red River Métis has provided her.

"Having the MMF behind me and supporting me through everything in all my endeavours and them making sure that I'm in the best position I can be in is absolutely unreal and unbelievable of them," she said. "I can't imagine my life without having the support of the MMF and all the amazing life-changing experiences they've given to me."


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