Now in her second year with the team, Williams Lake hockey player Ali Waterhouse has her sights set on a future playing the game she loves for as long as possible.
The five-foot-10, 15-year-old defenceman with the Penticton-based Okanagan Hockey Academy Female Prep team, has taken the skills she learned back home in the Williams Lake Minor Hockey Association to advance her game to the next level.
“I learned so much in Williams Lake with my coaches there,” Waterhouse said of her decision to relocate to play the game. “I definitely wanted to develop my hockey some more and knowing the program and the coaches [in Penticton] I knew it would be a great way to develop my hockey and get noticed by scouts, and to just further improve myself.”
Waterhouse, in 13 games so far this season, has a goal and two assists, and said it’s her strong defensive game that’s her strong point on the ice.
“I definitely consider myself more of a defensive player,” she said. “I’m not always one to rush the puck. I’ve got the back end covered and just try to be a solid player. I’m big and tall, so that helps me out winning battles. I’ve got a pretty hard shot, and try to make good passes but, overall, just try to be a very strong defensive player.”
In her first season in Penticton as an underage player with the team at 14 years old, Waterhouse and the OHA captured the CSSHL league and playoff championships.
“That was a huge highlight for me,” she said, adding the team has seen success throughout Canada and in the U.S.
“We’ve won tournaments all over, which is awesome. But overall the best part has been just being with the team. We’ve got awesome coaching and awesome players, and it’s a great environment.”
Waterhouse was in Williams Lake during the holidays spending time with family and friends and leaped at the opportunity to step back on the ice with her former teammates and coaches from the Williams Lake Midget Female Timberwolves for some practice.
She credited the tutelage of past coaches in Williams Lake, Ben Pierce and Roy Call, for helping develop her game to where it’s at today.
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“Doing some practices with the team [here in Williams Lake], it was really good,” Waterhouse said. “It’s awesome because it’s my old teammates and old coach, so it’s a lot of fun.
“I absolutely loved playing in Williams Lake. I was with all my friends, so that was fun, and I developed as a player in Williams Lake — that’s where it all started. I had great coaching and it allowed me to take one step further and continue bettering myself in hockey.”
Waterhouse and the OHA are slated to host this year’s playoffs, with Waterhouse hoping to catch the attention of university scouts this year, and for her next two seasons of eligibility in the league.
“That’s my goal right now, is to make a division one university hockey team in the U.S. with a full ride scholarship,” she said.
“The scouts come out to a lot of our games and we have a college showcase where scouts come to check out your game.
“Hopefully I can get there. That would be awesome.”