Listed at five feet, Amanda Ieradi could be considered undersized and standing next to some of the other players, she can seem even smaller. A self-described underdog, the first thing she mentions when asked about herself is her size.
“People underestimate me sometimes, just because everyone else is so big, but I try and use my lower body strength, I try to be aggressive because that typically helps win the battles,” said Ieradi.
And win battles she does. Ieradi is among the top 10 point scorers in the OUA and has connected with the net for two of the team’s 10 power play goals in the first half of the season. She’s second in both goals and assists among Badgers, and is an integral part of the team’s penalty kill. What she lacks in size she makes up for in confidence, looking up to players like Patrick Kane, Johnny Gaudreau and Marie Philip-Poulin, who are all known for their confidence and puck moving abilities over size in the NHL.
It wasn’t always hockey that kept Ieradi occupied though. As a young child she was a gymnast and played piano to keep herself busy, but watching her brother play hockey, she decided to leave the gym and join him on the ice. What was at first the jealousy of a seven-year-old who wanted to play like her brother, quickly developed into a passion for the sport that followed Ieradi all the way to university.
“I was like “this is the best thing ever” and me and my brother used to go outside, and play road hockey, literally every day, and I’ve loved it ever since,” the forward said.
Ieradi played lacrosse in high school, but after winning a silver medal at Nationals in her grade 12 year, she gave it up to focus on hockey. She currently studies Recreation and Leisure at Brock, which allows her to take her passion for sport into the classroom.
Ieradi is originally from Ottawa originally, and it’s a family connection that brought her all the way to Brock.
“My cousin was actually on the team the year before I got here and she was trying to convince me to play because then maybe we’d be on the same line,” Ieradi said. “I talked to Corey Williamson (assistant coach and head scout) and here I am.”
Christina Ieradi, cousin of Amanda, played for the Badgers up until she graduated last year, and she currently plays for the Planegg Penguins in Germany. In her career with Brock, Christina scored 40 goals and racked up 23 assists in four seasons.
As for Amanda, Europe is something that might interest her if she gets into a Masters program.
“I don’t know how that’s gonna go, I’m a little nervous, but there’s a few things I’m looking into. If I get into my masters, maybe I’ll go play a year in Europe, see how that goes. I’m just applying for my masters and going from there.”
Ieradi lives with starting goaltender, Jensen Murphy, and the two share a secret weapon for game day success; pancakes.
“Me and [Murphy], we’ve started having pancakes together, the morning of, even the weekdays, no matter what day it is, we’re having pancakes before the game”.
It’s little things like this that help her to keep things light. The two also share some laughs on the ice prior to a period to ease the nerves.
She was a part of the team who, last season, made it to the playoffs for the first time in six years.
“That was good, except we got swept by Guelph in the first round so I know a lot of us are trying to not just win one game, but move on to the second round. That’s a huge team goal we have,” said Ireadi.
She doesn’t like to set personal goals, finding it too stressful when she falls short.
“As long as I can just keep focus, keep myself playing well then that’s all I care about.”
Ieradi has become a better all around player since they were swept by the Gryphons in that frustrating series, she’s become more defensive, and continues to contribute at both ends of the ice.
Ieradi wears the number seven, and when asked her why, she immediately smiled, “My grandpa”.
She didn’t always wear the number. When she played in Ottawa, she wore nine in honour of her favourite player, Martin Havlat, but when she came to Brock, the number was unavailable, it was then that she decided to dedicate her number to her grandfather.
“He used to watch every game, he’d come out to practices sometimes too. He never played but he loved to watch. He’s still around but he doesn’t get to watch because he’s so far out, so I figured, I’d wear seven for him, it’s been good so far,” she said.
At the end of the day, Ieradi doesn’t take hockey too seriously. She manages to find the fun in what she does while still maintaining focus. Hockey is serious and important, and the stakes can be high, but it’s the fun in Ieradi’s game that truly sets her apart.