Brock, Saskatchewan's Ali Aitken will be living in southern Alberta next fall after signing on with the women's hockey program at the University of Lethbridge.
Before the new year, the 17-year-old put pen to paper and committed her post-secondary future with the U of L and their Pronghorns women's hockey team.
Aitken, who has played for the Battlefords AAA Sharks of the Saskatchewan Female Midget AAA Hockey League, has put in the extra effort this season to receive this opportunity in her young hockey career. So far this season, she has tallied 10 goals and 14 assists in 10 games; she leads the team in points and is tied for fifth in league scoring.
When asked how and why she has found a bundle of success on the ice this winter, this is what she had to say.
Aitken has continued to grow as a player since joining the Sharks in 2016-2017. Not only have her statistics improved every season, but her role on the team has become a big part of her play this year.
This season, head coach Kelsey Harder awarded Ali with the role of team captain for her final year of midget. Aitken gave us the story of how that decision came to be.
Her performance on the ice and maturity among her teammates and coaches attracted a number of post-secondary schools who were hoping for her to commit to their hockey programs next winter.
Aitken said she received offers from schools in Manitoba and Ontario to come out for visits, but in the end, she decided the right choice was with a school a little closer to home -- the University of Lethbridge.
She speaks about why choosing the U of L was the right decision for her hockey and academic futures.
She also wanted to take the opportunity to thank her parents, coaches and all her supporters for helping her attain her post-secondary goal. Now that she has a plan in place for her future, Aitken and the Sharks are preparing for a hectic couple months as they fight for positioning in the SFMAAAHL standings.
Their first test will be this weekend versus the Swift Current Wildcats on Saturday (7:30 p.m.) and Sunday (1:30 p.m.) at the Battleford Arena. Next Thursday, Aitken and her teammates will be on television when they take on the Saskatoon Stars in Battleford, and the organization is hoping to draw a large crowd for the game.
After that, the Sharks are off to Gull Lake and Swift Current to round off January before they close out the regular season in February with a game at home and back-to-back road fixtures in Melville.