Alyssa MacMillan, an Okanagan Hockey Academy grad and Penticton product, will join the University of Ottawa Gee-Gees women’s program after the University of North Dakota Fighting Hawks cut its women’s team.                                Conor Knuteson/UND Athletics

Alyssa MacMillan, an Okanagan Hockey Academy grad and Penticton product, will join the University of Ottawa Gee-Gees women’s program after the University of North Dakota Fighting Hawks cut its women’s team. Conor Knuteson/UND Athletics

OHA, Fighting Hawks alum joining Gee-Gees program

Alyssa MacMillan reflects on UND experience, moving on to Ottawa Gee-Gees

It was shocking new for Alyssa MacMillan and her University of North Dakota Fighting Hawks teammates when the women’s program was cut.

The day before it actually happened in late March, MacMillan, a product of the Okanagan Hockey Academy, said a podcast had broadcasted that the cut was happening, but the players thought maybe it wasn’t true.

“The Wednesday we got cut, we all got tense and nobody wanted to skate,” said MacMillan, now months later. “We were all pretty worried about it. No one was really uncomfortable because the coaches hadn’t said anything to us.”

After practice ended they went into their locker room and picked up their phones which had erupted with text messages and social media posts that the program was getting cut. People messaged them to apologize about the news.

“We had not heard yet. Coaches had a meeting to speak with the athletic director,” she said.

The coaches told the players it didn’t look good as the same happened to baseball and golf, which was cut the year before.

“I don’t know if you can prepare yourself, but there was a lot of emotions going on,” said MacMillan.

MacMillan said last season was awesome for her as she played with a team that was unreal.

“I probably never played with a group of girls that was that close. Everyone genuinely got along with each other.”

That environment helped her become a better person and player. That lone season in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) was an adjustment for the 5-9 forward. High school hockey is different from college, especially playing with women up to five years older. MacMillan lucked out as she put it getting a lot of playing time as a freshman. There were other rookies who struggled and didn’t receive as much ice time. MacMillan had her games where she didn’t play a lot either.

“It was weird going from a first-line player to trying to fill a different role,” she said. I definitely think I developed as player.”

Her speed is better as she had to adapt to a quicker game. Her hockey sense also got better because she learned she had to do things a second quicker.

Since then, things have moved forward in a positive direction for her.

In a few weeks MacMillan will leave Penticton for the nations capital, where she will play in U Sports for the Ottawa Gee-Gees for four years. She considered other NCAA programs, but returning to Canada she gets an extra year of hockey. MacMillan doesn’t believe she will continue playing hockey once her career with the GeeGees is over. MacMillan is excited for the next chapter in her hockey career and living in Ottawa.

“My past coaches said that they could see me fitting in that program,” said MacMillan, who studied pre-science at UND. “Some of the girls in Ottawa have reached out to me and welcomed me. Them reaching out to me, when I haven’t been there yet or met them, it’s really nice to feel welcomed already.”

Just Posted

(Dave Ogilvie/Contributed)
Injured mountain biker rescued in West Kelowna

The mountain biker reportedly has a hip injury about 1 km up the Smith Creek Road trail

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed Eli Beauregard facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

This undated file photo provided by Ernie Carswell & Partners shows the home featured in the opening and closing scenes of The Brady Bunch in Los Angeles. Do you know the occupation of Mike Brady, the father in this show about a blended family? (Anthony Barcelo/Ernie Carswell & Partners via AP, File)
QUIZ: A celebration of dad on Father’s Day

How much do you know about famous fathers?

Asia Youngman (right) is pictured shooting another short film she wrote and directed titled Hatha. (Luba Popovic)
Peachland set to star in fantasy thriller film about N’xaxaitk’w — a.k.a. the Ogopogo

The film will follow an Indigenous teen as she navigates peer pressure, bullying and identity

Fruit farmers in the Okanagan and Creston valleys are in desperate need of cherry harvesters amid COVID-19 work shortages. (Photo: Unsplash/Abigail Miller)
‘Desperate’ need for workers at Okanagan cherry farms

Fruit farmers are worried they’ll have to abandon crops due to COVID-19 work shortages

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

Jeanette Megens
KCR: Volunteering is sharing your story

Kelowna Community Resources shares stories of its volunteers in a weekly column

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

FILE – Most lanes remain closed at the Peace Arch border crossing into the U.S. from Canada, where the shared border has been closed for nonessential travel in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, Thursday, May 7, 2020, in Blaine, Wash. The restrictions at the border took effect March 21, while allowing trade and other travel deemed essential to continue. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Feds to issue update on border measures for fully vaccinated Canadians, permanent residents

Border with U.S. to remain closed to most until at least July 21

A portion of the George Road wildfire burns near Lytton, B.C. in this Friday, June 18, 2021 handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, BC Wildfire Service *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Blaze near Lytton spread across steep terrain, says BC Wildfire Service

Fire began Wednesday and is suspected to be human-caused, but remains under investigation

Jaimee Peters photo of a Willow Midwives helping with a birth. Willow closed its doors March 31 because of a shortage of midwives. (Contributed)
South Okanagan’s only midwifery to re-open this summer

Willow Community Midwives was forced to close because of a shortage of midwives

Blair Lebsack, owner of RGE RD restaurant, poses for a portrait in the dining room, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. Canadian restaurants are having to find ways to deal with the rising cost of food. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Canadian restaurateurs grapple with rising food costs, menu prices expected to rise

Restaurants are a low margin industry, so there’s not a lot of room to work in additional costs

Gord with a mom and her young son outside Pathways which was defunded on May 31. (Facebook)
Gord Portman with a mom and her child outside of Pathways. The sign says it all about the difference Pathways has made in people’s lives. They were defunded by Interior Health on May 31.
Penticton man takes the plunge for the recovery house that helped save his life

Gord Portman said Discovery House and Pathways have been everything in his 1 year sobriety

Most Read