The Manitoba Twins of UConn Ice Hockey

Freshmen Morgan, left, a forward, and Taylor Wabick, a defender, at the Freitas Ice Forum. 'We have always been on the same team, except for one game,' says Taylor. (Steve Lewis/UConn Photo)
Freshmen Morgan, left, a forward, and Taylor Wabick, a defender, at the Freitas Ice Forum. 'We have always been on the same team, except for one game,' says Taylor. (Steve Lewis/UConn Photo)

Twin sisters Morgan and Taylor Wabick do not make it easy on people. They never have. The latest victims are the UConn women’s ice hockey team, both coaches and players, who have yet to master the difference.

When looking at the Wabick sisters – or listening to them – or even getting to know them, it is still often hard for people to know which one they are speaking to.

Morgan Wabick (27) on the offensive attack against Vermont at the Freitas Ice Forum on Oct. 7. (Stephen Slade '89 (SFA) for UConn)
Morgan Wabick (27) on the offensive attack during a home game against Vermont on Oct. 7. (Stephen Slade ’89 (SFA) for UConn)

Natives of Winnipeg, Manitoba, the sisters have always been together, whether it be in class, on the ice, or socially with friends. Since they travel in a pair wherever they go, it has always been difficult for others to make individual identifications.

“It happens every day,” jokes Taylor, a defender, about her teammates struggling to distinguish them. “They are getting more used to it … one girl on the team, Becca Lindblad, we mess with her all the time. Everyone else gets it wrong a couple times, but it’s getting better.”

Coming from the Balmoral Hall School in Winnipeg, the sisters had a big learning curve, like most freshmen when attending a large university such as UConn. Like most students, however, the Wabicks quickly adapted to their new environment.

“The first month at UConn was hard, but now it’s better, especially with three other players from Winnipeg on the team,” says Morgan, a UConn forward. “Cydnee Cook, Justine Fredette, and Kayla Mee helped us transition into the University.”

A plane ride of roughly three to four hours separates Winnipeg from Hartford, Connecticut, so making the decision to come to UConn was a process – one that started early, when head coach Chris MacKenzie began contacting the duo through recruiting.

In that stretch, it was never an option that the sisters would attend different schools. It would be a package deal for the lucky suitor, and UConn was the program that benefited.

Taylor Wabick takes a shot against Vermont. (Steve Slade '89 (SFA) for UConn)
Taylor Wabick (16) takes a shot against Vermont. (Steve Slade ’89 (SFA) for UConn)

“It was a hard decision, but I think we felt comfortable with the coaches and the environment,” says Morgan. “When we came on our official visit, it felt like home.”

Taylor adds, “We were looking for a decent-sized school, but not too big, and we felt a strong connection with the coaching staff – it was a little bit of both.”

Currently Morgan and Taylor are in the UConn ACES program, the Academic Center for Exploratory Students, but are interested in pursuing the sciences as they further their education.

“I feel like we’re pretty similar, but once you get to know us, you might see some differences,” says Taylor.

In their limited time at UConn, both have found ways to make an immediate impact for the Huskies. Morgan ranks fourth on the team with five points this season, while Taylor has already accounted for a pair of assists as a defender.

Prior to attending UConn, the sisters played for the Balmoral Hall Blazers, where Morgan was the leading scorer in the Junior Women’s Hockey League and Taylor was sixth overall. Both played for Team Manitoba in the U-18 Nationals, helping the team to a silver-medal finish in 2015.

“We have always been on the same team, except for one game,” says Taylor. “It was weird … I don’t like playing against her. I prefer being on the same side.”

When asked who would have the advantage in a one-on-one matchup, the mutual decision was neither – it would be even. One more similarity between the two.

When asked about the experience of having a twin, it has become so much second nature for the Wabick sisters that it seems impossible to dream up a scenario where it isn’t true.

“Honestly, I can’t imagine going through life without a twin. We do everything together,” says Morgan. “We just help each other. I feel she makes me a better person and player.”

UConn is 3-3-1 in its first seven games of the season, with a home weekend coming up against RPI at the Mark Edward Freitas Ice Forum.

The Huskies have big plans for the 2017-18 season. “I think we have a really good team and we have a good shot of going far,” says Morgan. “For myself, I want to improve academically and on the ice.”

“Well, obviously, I hope to achieve a national championship,” adds Taylor. “But just getting to know everyone on the team and making more friends, while improving as a player, would be the goal for me.”