Nov. 23—OSWEGO — While discussing strategy with his assistants on the bench, Oswego State women's hockey coach Mark Digby will occasionally hear quality input from another voice and turn to see Taylor Hudon.
The daughter of a hockey coach, Hudon has become emboldened, as the elected captain, to leave her imprint on and off the ice for the Lakers.
The 2018 Alexandria High School graduate and former standout for the combined Islanders high school team has now stepped into the top leadership role in her senior campaign for Oswego, which entered the week on a five-game winning streak.
Hudon initially learned the game under her dad, Brian Hudon, who served as head coach while she played for the Islanders and on prior club teams.
"I'm really blessed to be able to have him by my side with hockey, I learned a lot of self-awareness and other good characteristics from him, and I'm really thankful," Hudon said.
"I think that does help, growing up around hockey just kind of everywhere, watching hockey, talking hockey with my dad constantly, it helps your awareness on the ice," she added. "You're always just growing and progressing to a higher level of hockey."
Hudon started playing club hockey at a young age and excelled for the St. Lawrence Steel and Syracuse Nationals. She played a key role in helping each team win a state club championship and was an active fund-raiser for each program.
Hudon was named the Section 3 Co-Player of the Year for the Islanders as a senior in 2018 and guided the unit to a state championship in 2016.
Her extensive background and hockey IQ have been a welcomed presence for Digby.
"On the bench, she'll turn and make comments and you'll think: 'Wait a minute, are you playing or are you coaching,'" Digby said. "It's fun to have people around that understand the game and are committed to it, and really just want to do what's right for the team regardless of the position they're in."
Hudon was a three-sport standout at Alexandria and served as a captain for her high school soccer, hockey, and softball teams.
She was initially part of a nine-player leadership counsel that guided the Lakers through the preseason before Digby made the official announcement appointing her to the captain role at a practice just before the season opener for the Lakers.
Hudon said she felt overjoyed upon being handed the responsibility of representing the team.
"I've been playing hockey for so long and you look up to your teammates and your role models, and really want to be the way that they are when you're an underclassman," Hudon said. "I feel really proud and I'm happy to be the captain of our team."
Hudon has one goal thus far for the Lakers and contributed three goals and four assists last year. She tallied 15 goals and 5 assists as a freshman at Nazareth but transferred after her second season.
She chose Oswego prior to the 2020-21 campaign that was ultimately canceled due to COVID-19 concerns, taking online classes for her first year before taking the ice last season.
Hudon identified the campus and team environment as an ideal fit when searching for her next program, and she's close enough to allow her original coach and the rest of their family to attend home games.
"I'm really happy that I was able to enjoy the school that I came to, I've made a lot of close friends here," Hudon said. "I love coming to the rink every day, having my teammates as support, and I love being able to have my family come to every game."
Oswego (5-3 overall) is coming off a weekend sweep of nationally-ranked No. 12 SUNY Cortland and will next play Sunday at Hamilton College.