Profiles

Selfless service characterizes Sidney Peters

Sidney Peters
Sidney Peters on blending her interests in medicine and community service: “I love learning about the human body because there is always more to learn. I love working with people and building relationships with them.” (Photo by Eric Miller/Gopher Athletics)

During the winter months, college hockey players rarely have enough time to sleep. With rigorous academic work, a long season and extracurricular endeavors, they must balance multiple responsibilities.

The offseason provides more opportunities for players to explore interests outside hockey. For Minnesota women’s goaltender Sidney Peters, this has amounted to countless miles traveled and countless hours of community service.

With some of the places those miles have taken her, Peters has seen the meaning of resourcefulness in a more profound light.

In the 2016 offseason, Peters worked in the Hospital Bernard Mevs, Haiti’s only critical care and trauma hospital as well as the only newborn and pediatric intensive care unit. She spent eight days in this hospital assisting with stabilizing and treating patients. She splinted broken bones, dressed wounds, performed CPR and learned how to suture.

“This was my first trip outside the country related to my interest in medicine,” she told Pucks and Recreation. “This trip put me in a different mindset to learn and serve others. It helped me appreciate the resources and opportunities that the United States can afford.

“Sometimes we can take for granted what we have. In Haiti, they don’t have the same finances to meet their healthcare needs. There were four beds and one wheelchair in this whole hospital. I also had to think twice about using something like gauze because you never knew who would come into the hospital next.

“We had to make do with what we had. It was heartbreaking at times to see the lack of money or resources that Haiti did not have.”

For her part in healing those physical and emotional wounds, Peters is now formally on appreciation’s receiving end. Recently, the 2018 Hockey Humanitarian Award committee narrowed its list of finalists to five. Peters was among the remaining contenders for the prize presented to college hockey’s “finest citizen” for leadership in community service.

Sidney Peters action shot

Since returning from Haiti in 2016, Peters has reaped bigger rewards for her dedication on and off the ice. (Photo by Eric Miller/Gopher Athletics)

“It is a huge honor to be a top-five finalist for this award,” she said. “This award is pretty special because it recognizes people outside hockey and shows that we are not just athletes. A big part of my life is volunteering and it is a special feeling to be considered one of the top finalists for this honor.”

Since the Illinois native arrived in Minneapolis in 2013, she has devoted herself to serving others. That impulse shows in her major in kinesiology and her hopes of attending medical school and later working for the Air Force.

“I love learning about the human body because there is always more to learn,” she said. “I love working with people and building relationships with them.”

This passion sparked Peters’ involvement as a campus EMT. In 2015, she joined the rapid-response team that volunteers on weekends to support the university when its facilities host collegiate or professional sports, concerts, conventions and graduations.

Less than a year later, her work as an EMT led her on a trip with Project Medishare. The American nonprofit strives to support and improve healthcare services in Haiti by donating human resources, technology and medical supplies.

Upon returning from her trip, Peters learned many lessons that she can incorporate into her future career goals.

“My trip to Haiti was powerful, terrifying, and wonderful all at once because I had the chance to serve people who were even more uncomfortable and scared than I was,” she said in a Gophers release. “It takes courage not to run the other way when you encounter the pressure of being responsible for someone else’s life, but it is the best feeling in the world knowing that you were there to take care of them when they couldn’t take care of themselves.”

Since then, Peters has recommitted herself to getting involved in healthcare to serve people. Meanwhile, she has spent the last two hockey seasons getting rewarded for her equal devotion on the ice.

“There were four beds and one wheelchair in this whole hospital. I also had to think twice about using something like gauze because you never knew who would come into the hospital next. We had to make do with what we had. It was heartbreaking at times to see the lack of money or resources that Haiti did not have.” – Sidney Peters

As a fifth-year senior, Peters is already a two-time national champion. She has appeared in 75 games with a career record of 49-14-6. After serving as current Buffalo Beauts netminder Amanda Leveille’s backup, she led the Gophers to a 2017 Frozen Four berth.

Even with that much demand from the Gophers, Peters does not limit her on-ice energy to competition. Back home in Chicago, she volunteers as a goalie coach with Hockey Ministries International. This organization offers camps combining a love for Christ and a love for hockey.

In Minnesota, Peters volunteers with HopeKids, Special Olympics Minnesota and the University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital among many other organizations. Of those experiences, she fondly remembers the first in particular.

“Hope Kids is an organization that supports kids with life-threatening illnesses,” she explained Peters to Pucks and Rec.

“There is an event held each year called Hope Day, which is a big event at the football stadium. It is a highlight of the year because we play games with the kids. I am grateful for days like these because it shows that you can choose joy in the midst of adversity. This day, and my other service experiences, have changed my perspective on a lot of things.”

With two regular-season games left on Minnesota’s slate, then another high-expectation playoff run, Peters’ transition to med school is imminent. But her love for service remains as strong as ever, due in part to her strong spiritual life.

“I think my faith in God has taught me the value of love and serving others,” she reflected. “It is so important to get involved in your community. We have been given a lot and I hope that I can continue to spread love any way that I can.”

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