Figure skater turned hockey player: the story of Bienek’s signing

This is an extended version of the article which was published on December 21 and printed in the newspaper on December 22.

After making a verbal commitment earlier in the fall, Aleah Bienek signed his letter of intent to play hockey at Trine University in Indiana on Friday, December 17.

Aleah, who has 11 points this season with 8 assists in the lead, is in love with every aspect of the game, which has led her to dream of playing in college.

“I have always loved sports, from training to games, to training, to the team atmosphere and most of all to watching other people play,” said Aleah. “It’s my favorite sport because I love everything about and around hockey. ”

Eight-year-old Aleah, however, never imagined going to college to play hockey.

Figure skater turned hockey player

When Aleah first stepped onto the ice, she didn’t have a stick in her hand; she was a figure skater.

Laurie Awender had different plans for Aleah, however. After school, Awender talked to Aleah about trying out hockey.

“I started playing hockey in grade four,” said Aleah. “Ms. Awender was a big factor for me to try out hockey. One night I went to one of the hockey tryout nights, and from there I knew I had to go. stick to this sport.

Aleah’s parents supported the change, provided her with her equipment and drove her to practice.

“We spoke to parents who had kids in hockey to find used equipment,” said Jean Ann, Aleah’s mother. “It only took a few practices and we knew she was going to switch from figure skating to hockey.

Set to work

Once she started playing, Aleah started running, gaining more and more experience. Throughout her hockey career, she played for Crookston Park and Rec, River City Hockey of Moorhead and the Northern Storm of Superior, Wisconsin.

Meanwhile, Aleah has put in extra hours to reach the level she is now.

“Aleah always worked hard and went the extra mile to achieve his goals,” said Jean Ann. “Whether in school or in sports, his dedication has been phenomenal to nurture. Over the years, coaches have always talked about how coachable she is and what a team player she is. ”

Head coach Emily Meyer echoes that sentiment, as she has coached Aleah for three years.

“Aleah was one of the players who wants to grow as a player and as a person,” said Meyer. “She always asks questions about ways to improve and improve herself and those around her. She has what it takes physically and will adapt to do whatever her trainer needs of her.

Make dreams come true

Once Aleah started playing for the Pirates, she knew she wanted to keep playing. It wasn’t until her second year that she started executing her plan.

“I’ve always had in mind that I wanted to play college hockey since grade 8, my first year in the Girls Crookston Pirate Hockey program,” Aleah said. “I knew it was going to take a lot of dedication and hard work to get there, but it inspired me to do it. It wasn’t until second year that I knew I had to make this a reality.

In his second season, Aleah has shifted to another gear. She trained even harder on and off the ice, and she trained outside of regular training hours. She also began her recruiting process and turned to Meyer for advice.

“From the moment I started coaching, Aleah told me she wanted to play varsity hockey,” said Meyer. “She asked tons of questions about what she needed to do to get there. I told him wanting was the first step. Then she left from there. Training, camps, skills on her own, this child got down to work.

Besides physical labor, Aleah has also broadened his network socially. She profiled recruiting, talked to coaches, attended presentations and visited several schools.

Jamestown, Lawrence University, and Concordia Wisconsin were on her list of possible schools, but when she visited Trine, she knew it was the right one.

“As soon as I walked onto campus, I felt like I was home away from home,” Aleah said. “I knew it was the right fit for me to grow athletically and academically.”

Bring thunder

Aleah will attend Trine University in Angola, Indiana in the fall. She will be majoring in exercise science in hopes of joining the physiotherapy doctoral university program.

Right now, the women’s hockey team is 4-9-1 overall with a 1-4-1 conference record. The Thunder entered the Christmas break with a three-game winning streak, all against Marian University outside of Wisconsin.

The team has 10 seniors who will have to be replaced next season, shoes that Aleah and his co-recruits hope to fill.

Meyer is convinced that despite this achievement, Aleah will succeed at the next level.

“I can’t wait to see what more this kid can do, because when she focuses on something, she takes it far,” Meyer said. “So chase those dreams Aleah, you have the pirate hockey community supporting and cheering you on!” ”

Aleah Bienek signs his letter of intent under the gaze of his parents, Jean Ann and Dacian.
Aleah Bienek signs letter of intent with supporting assistant coach Stacy Olson and head coach Emily Meyer.
Aleah Bienek and her teammates celebrate a victory.
Aleah Bienek is in line with his team.

Catherine J. Martinez