Forward currently in her fourth year with Bears
When the Saskatchewan Female Under-18 AAA Hockey League season went on hold back in late November, fourth-year Prince Albert Northern Bears Haley Kicia was worried that the stoppage in play would affect her plans to continue to play hockey at the post-secondary.
Her fears have gone away as the 17-year-old Saskatoon product has committed to the Red Deer College Queens, who compete in the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference.
“I’m really excited about heading to Red Deer and I’m happy that I have found somewhere to play that will be a great fit for me,” Kicia said on Tuesday afternoon.
“I had talked a bit to their coach (Kelly Coulter) over the last couple of years but I think what stood out the most about Red Deer College was that it’s a great place to further my education, it’s not too far away from here and I have a lot of family who are from Red Deer, which is nice.”
A familiar face will join Kicia on the Red Deer College roster next season, as former Bears teammate Alli Soyko will be entering her second year with the team.
The Queens, who won the ACAC title in 2016, finished in second place in the league standings in 2019-20 with a 15-6-3 record before losing their best-of-three semifinal series to the NAIT Ooks in a Game 3 double overtime thriller.
“In talking with the coaches, I think that the way that they play will really allow me to develop my game,” said Kicia, who will be studying for a bachelor of arts and sociology before eventually pursuing a career in policing.
“The way that their schedule is for school and for practice is actually pretty similar to what we do here with the Bears. It seems busy at times, but it’s not too busy and I’ll be able to balance school and hockey.”
Since joining the Bears in 2017, Kicia has recorded 22 points in 87 regular season games and has two assists in 14 playoff contests.
In addition to being named an assistant captain this year, she’s also off to her best start at the Under-18 level as she sits second in team scoring with five points (three goals and two assists) in four contests.
“I’ve grown a lot as a player and as a person over these last four years,” Kicia said. “All four of the teams I’ve played for here have had a strong connection, which has helped me a lot.
“Our coaches have really done a lot to help me reach the next level as I’ve really improved my skills and gained a lot of confidence since my rookie season.”
Kicia joins fellow forwards Paris Oleksyn (Saskatchewan Huskies) and Rhea Peterson (Adrian College Bulldogs) as players from this year’s Bears roster that have committed to post-secondary programs.
“I know that it’s going to be a faster pace of play in the ACAC compared to here with the Bears, but I’m really excited about that challenge when I arrive in Red Deer later this year,” Kicia said.