BONNYVILLE – Ali Macaulay’s passion for hockey has allowed her to play in many different rinks, and that journey is far from over.
The Bonnyville-native has committed to playing for the Olds College Broncos in the fall.
Just last year Macaulay was ready to end her hockey career, concerned she wouldn't be able to balance school and sports in post-secondary. It was the abrupt end to her 2019/20 season due to the coronavirus that caused her to have a change of heart.
“I think it definitely helped me decide because of my love for the game and I really didn’t want to stop playing yet,” the defenceman expressed.
While Macaulay believes she could have walked away from a game that she’s been playing since she was four-years-old, she knew it would have been a difficult decision.
“I think I could have, but it would have been super challenging just because I have such a big passion for it. I think it would have been hard, and watching people play probably would have made me regret walking away.”
While she was debating on whether or not to continue her hockey career, Olds College showed interest in having Macaulay become a Bronco.
“A few places in the United States had contacted me to come to their spring camps and whatnot, but Olds reached out more and got into contact with me,” she said.
After a lot of soul-searching, Macaulay decided she wasn’t ready to say goodbye to hockey.
“The coach is super promising and he has a lot of things to offer. I think I just wasn’t ready to part ways with it, I just opened my mind and was like ‘okay, I’ll try it for this year and if I like it, I’ll keep going.’ I thought I would try it for a year and see if I can handle it.”
Macaulay started her hockey career in Bonnyville when she was young and played in local arenas until she joined the Lloydminster Jr. Steelers five years ago.
Her skill has taken her to play on the provincial level in the Alberta Challenge and she has made the roster for the Alberta National Hockey Team twice.
Macaulay has seen girls hockey change drastically since she first hit the ice with an all-female team.
“When I first started playing, there weren’t very many teams. It was just like you play at home with a small group, maybe a few other groups around it, and it wasn’t very big,” she recalled. “Whereas now, it’s evolving and getting bigger, which is nice to see.”
With her first season at Olds quickly approaching, Macaulay encouraged young hockey players to “not stop trying.”
“It’s hard to train when you get older. You’re like ‘oh, I don’t know if I can do it’ or ‘I don’t think I can commit to it.’ I think just the passion, not giving up, and just looking forward is everything, because everything works out in the end.”