Invermere local Wasyn Rice is taking aim at a big hockey career

Invermere local Wasyn Rice is taking aim at a big hockey career

Wasyn Rice commits to U.S college hockey

16 year old Invermere native Wasyn Rice has accepted a scholarship to Robert Morris University in 2018-19.

Most 16 year olds are focused on finding some form of normality. Hanging out with friends, texting friends, passing high school classes and maybe even learning how to drive for the first time. Not Wasyn Rice. Instead, she’s committing to Robert Morris University Division I Scholarship nearly two years before she graduates high school, and playing in the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association).

A lifelong dream of hers, the new reality has taken some time to sink in.

“It took a good week for me to realize that I’ve got all my education paid for and that I get to play hockey while getting my schooling all paid for,” Wasyn said.

For her, it’s step one of her dreams in her hockey career that started at the age of five in the Windermere Minor Hockey Association. The youngest sibling born into a hockey family, Wasyn spent her early years following her siblings around to hockey rinks before lacing up herself. Playing with boys while growing up through the minor hockey system, it wasn’t long before she was outplaying her friends. At 12 years old, she was already playing at the midget level a division typically legislated for players 15 to 18 year olds.

It was then that she asked her dad to have a serious conversation.

“This was a 12 year-old-girl saying this to me, and I said, ‘OK, what about?’ and she said, ‘Well, I want to move to Cranbrook and play with the girls team’,” said her father, Rob Rice.

Wasyn remembers the move being a scary one for her.

“At such a young age, it’s just normal to get homesick,” she said. “I was scared to leave my parents but at the same time the excitement of getting better at hockey kind of took over and being so busy also I didn’t have to think about home as much, but, yeah, I did get homesick because it was my first time leaving home.”

After playing two seasons in Cranbrook on a travel team, she realized this was just the beginning for her time away from home. Her next move was to Cornwall, Ontario to attend the coveted Ontario Hockey Academy a private school geared towards educating “gifted athletes” for sport training.

Playing in her first tournament in Ontario, she was quickly reassured that she had made the right decision to get more exposure of her talents as a hockey player.

“In my first tournament, I got interest and they (scouts) just said that they were really interested in me with my style and my defensive play,” she said. “It was crazy because I was only in Grade 10 and that’s when they started talking to me.”

Since then, she has worked tirelessly, off and on the ice, to become the best hockey player possible. At just 16, she realizes how unconventional her adolescence has been compared to her peers.

“It’s definitely really hard, especially as a young teenage girl. I want to go have fun with my friends,” she said. “I want to go to the beach and all that, but I have such a dream at such a high level of hockey that it literally just took over and that’s what helped me stay away from my fun and discipline myself to go to the gym before I had fun.”

Rob said this work ethic is one of the aspects that have made Wasyn the exceptional hockey player that she’s become today.

“She was the girl who said, ‘OK, I’m going over to my friends for a sleepover, but we’re working out tomorrow at 11 a.m. on Saturday,’” he said. “Everyone wants to put the work in on the ice, but nowadays with what’s happening is that it’s the work away from the rink that’s as important if not more to help your development, and she put her time in and continues to put her time in.”

That work was rewarded last month in November with a full scholarship offer from Robert Morris University, located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, starting in the fall of 2018. After considering the offer for several weeks, Wasyn said it was just too much of an opportunity to pass up.

“I think it’s exciting,” said Rob. “Obviously, the money factor is a big thing, especially with the American dollar right now… and I’ve always been told this is the closest a lot of these girls will get to see what pros is like, where they’ll have full-time trainers, their own dressing room, and go to mandatory workouts.”

Speaking to The Echo just after having returned from a tournament in the United States, Wasyn said she understands her future commitment means more years away from her home in Invermere.

“Not being able to see my family or just getting presents from my parents is hard because it was what I was used to back home, seeing them and celebrating my birthday,” she said. “I haven’t celebrated my birthday in the last two years.”

If Wasyn is able to accomplish her dream, though, that just might make up for it.

Just Posted

The end of an Echo
The end of an Echo

Invermere Valley Echo shuts down operations in Columbia Valley

Creating a new narrative for Canal Flats

Economic development consultant hired, lists vision for next 90 days

Princeton wildfire phots courtesy of Debbie Lyon.
UPDATE: Crews battle as wildfires rage in B.C. Interior

Crews brace for another day on B.C. firelines as no let up is likely

VIDEO: B.C. wildfires by the numbers
VIDEO: B.C. wildfires by the numbers

Wildfires continue to engulf regions of B.C.’s forests and communities.

Aerial view south of Williams Lake Friday afternoon shows dry lightning storm passing over, leaving fire starts behind. Lightning sparked more than 100 new fires Friday. (Black Press)
VIDEO: More than 180 wildfires burning across B.C.

Firefighters from other provinces called in to assist

DTSS Grad March 2017
DTSS Grad March 2017

DTSS Grad March 2017

59 cats seized in Chase
59 cats seized in Chase

59 neglected and injured cats were seized from a property in Chase

(Flickr/Andreas Eldh)
Soundgarden singer Chris Cornell dead at age 52

The singer/songwriter passed away early Thursday morning in Detroit

Paying tribute to a primeval passage
Paying tribute to a primeval passage

Uninterrupted celebrates the Adams River sockeye run in an extraordinary way.

UPDATE: Pemberton Music Festival cancelled, no automatic refunds
UPDATE: Pemberton Music Festival cancelled, no automatic refunds

In the past, the music festival located in Pemberton drew large crowds last year of 180,000 fans

Photo by:
Medical wait times cost B.C. patients $2,300 each

New Fraser Institute report places B.C. at second worst in costs associated with long wait times

UPDATE: 22 killed at Ariana Grande concert
UPDATE: 22 killed at Ariana Grande concert

Witnesses reported hearing two loud bangs coming from near the arena’s bars at about 10:35 p.m.

A university study finds that about nine per cent of Canada’s Grade 11 and 12 students – roughly 66,000 teens – have driven within an hour of drinking and 9.4 per cent drove after using marijuana.                                 Photo: Now-
Leader file
One in three Canadian high school students have rode with drinking drivers, study reveals

Nearly one in five rode with a driver who’d been smoking pot

Top court to hear federal government’s appeal on residential school records
Top court to hear federal government’s appeal on residential school records

A lower court judge ruled to destroy the stories after 15 years unless consent is given to preserve

Most Read