Ice Hockey

Savannah Rennie and Kelli Rowswell’s childhood bond has helped their transitions to Syracuse

When homesickness strikes, Savannah Rennie and Kelli Rowswell can find a little bit of home in each other.

“Sometimes we miss home a little bit and we just have some girl time,” Rennie said, laughing. “Some cuddle time when we miss home.”

After first meeting at 9 years old while playing spring hockey in East St. Paul, Manitoba, a suburb of Winnipeg, a friendship blossomed between the two.

Despite going their separate ways through their teens, the duo reconnected when both were named to the Team Manitoba U18 provincial team. Rennie and Rowswell are roommates and teammates for Syracuse (4-7-3, 3-2-1 College Hockey America) and their friendship has helped them transition to SU.

“That’s usually a big adjustment so they’re grabbing it,” head coach Paul Flanagan said. “It takes a while but we’ve got juniors still trying to figure it out, so we can’t expect freshmen their first semester but they’re getting it.”

When Rowswell was 9 and wanted to play spring hockey, she followed in the path of her winter teammates and signed up to play for the Steelers in East St. Paul — the same spring team as Rennie.

The bond was immediate and the two developed a strong friendship, Rowswell said. The hockey may not have been the best, but their bond on and off the ice grew.

“She was probably one of my good friends back then,” Rennie said. “We figured out the game together and grew up together and started playing hockey together.”

After playing on the same spring team for a couple years, Rennie and Rowswell lost contact for most of their time in high school. Rennie played for Shaftesbury Prep — where fellow SU teammates Stephanie Grossi and Larissa Martyniuk played — while Rowswell played at Balmoral Hall.

It was not until both Rennie and Rowswell were on the roster for Team Manitoba’s U18 team to play against other provincial teams that they reconnected. Only the top 20 players from each province make the team.

Playing for their province finally provided both players, by this point Orange commits, a chance to catch up and prepare for Syracuse.

The two spent time together in the summer before coming to SU in order to get to know each other better, including a trip to Florida. Now roommates, the two feel having each other has benefitted them on and off the ice.

“At the beginning it was normal,” Rowswell said, “We were both a little homesick. We definitely found we’re both a little part of home in each other because we’re from the same place. I always can talk to her, she can always talk to me.”

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