alex poznikoff feature

Anatomy of an ambassador

One of the most decorated players in U SPORTS, and arguably the best, there’s no bigger cheerleader for Canadian women’s university hockey than Alex Poznikoff

Jason La Rose
August 9, 2019

The phrase ‘been there, done that’ tends to be a little bit overused.

Unless you’re Alex Poznikoff. Because when it comes to women’s hockey in Canada, the University of Alberta star has been almost everywhere and done pretty much everything you can do in the game.

Where do we start? As a minor hockey standout, Poznikoff led her Edmonton Thunder to back-to-back-to-back trips to the Esso Cup, Canada’s National Female Midget Championship, from 2013-15.

During that run, she represented Alberta at the 2013 National Women’s Under-18 Championship, and cracked Canada’s National Women’s Under-18 Team roster for a three-game series against the U.S. in the summer of 2014.

A sought-after college recruit, Poznikoff spurned U.S. offers and decided to stay close to home and join a powerhouse Pandas program under head coach Howie Draper.

“I talked to quite a few NCAA schools, but I was always a fan of the Canadian game,” Poznikoff says. “I thought, ‘Why not to grow the Canadian game as a Canadian hockey player?’ I strongly believe that we have so much talent here that can stack up, and I wanted to make a difference.”

And she has. Poznikoff helped the Pandas to their eighth U SPORTS national championship in 2017, won silver with Canada at the 2017 Winter Universiade in Kazakhstan and made another international appearance with Canada’s National Women’s Development Team last summer.

Oh, and she won the Brodrick Trophy as the best player in Canadian women’s university hockey last season after leading all of U SPORTS in scoring, was a first-team All-Canadian and helped the Pandas back to the national tournament.

So … ya. Been there, done that.

As she pulls on the U SPORTS sweater once again as part of the BFL National Women’s Development Team Selection Camp in Calgary, her focus is the same as it was the first three times she came to camp – to do her part to showcase the talent that exists in Canadian women’s university hockey.

“I am a huge supporter of U SPORTS, and I would like to see the league progress and keep getting better and more recognized,” Poznikoff says. “This year, I wanted to come [to camp] and make sure all the girls were having a good time, while also proving that our league is stacking up where it should.”

But while she is a team-first player through and through (which might explain why she is wearing the ‘C’ with the university stars this week), Poznikoff admits there’s a selfish reason she likes coming to camp: Being amongst the best players in the country can only help her get better.

“That’s one of my favourite parts – you see these players, you play against some of them and you don’t really get to really see that different skill and talent,” she says. “So when you’re practicing with them, or warming up with them, or playing on lines, you’re talking to them and learning what they’re doing, and it does really expand your tool box.”

Poznikoff is also expanding her ever-growing list of teammates. She jokes that thanks to her U SPORTS and Team Canada connections, she could end up just about anywhere in the country and find a couch to sleep on.

That’s the beauty of the hockey community. Canada is huge, but the game makes it feel much smaller.

“[It’s about] being able to build relationships and have that sense of purpose and family outside of your actual family,” she says. “You spend more time with the girls at the rink during the season than your actual family sometimes, so to have those kinds of relationships with so many people is spectacular.”

Entering her fifth and final season of U SPORTS eligibility, Poznikoff has one year left to build on those relationships before it’s off to the ‘real world.’ She is waiting for the questions surrounding professional women’s hockey to be answered before she plots out too much of her future, but hockey will play a role in her post-Panda plans.

After all, for everything she’s done and everywhere she’s been, there’s still one big item on the to-do list.

“I want to keep the Olympic team in sight and shoot for that.”

For more information:

Esther Madziya
Manager, Communications
Hockey Canada

(403) 284-6484 

Spencer Sharkey
Manager, Communications
Hockey Canada

(403) 777-4567

Jeremy Knight
Manager, Corporate Communications
Hockey Canada

(647) 251-9738

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