ANGOLA — Amy Alt is looking forward to making hockey dreams come true.
"My long-term vision is that Trine University will become a known place for hockey," the university's new youth program director said. "Learn to skate classes fill up fast, and our Let's Try Hockey for Free events are packed with rookies just waiting for their first chance with a stick and a puck. I see the program being known for its high level of instruction and coaches who really care."
Once she arrives on campus April 3, Alt will get an assist in bringing those dreams to fruition through a grant the university received from the Dekko Foundation. Part of the grant will cover the cost of equipment for the youth who take part in Trine's programs.
"I love that everyone who wants the chance to try hockey will have the opportunity," she said. "I grew up in Minnesota, 'the state of hockey,' where a love for the game is simply a part of many of us. There is something special about living the hockey life and I want to share it."
Alt comes to Trine from Chaska, Minnesota, most recently serving as the program director and coach for the Herb Brooks Foundation in Blaine. Named for the coach of the U.S.A. hockey "Miracle on Ice" team in the 1980 Olympics, the foundation works to make hockey more accessible to players of all levels in backgrounds. Prior her to her work there, she pioneered and helped build several programs during her time as a player, coach and director in Minnesota and Colorado.
"With a passion for hockey program development, experience in pioneering youth hockey programs and an appreciation for a campus with a strong sense of community, Trine is a natural fit for me," she said. "When I saw the opportunity to help build youth hockey in a town that is making organized hockey available for the first time, I jumped at the opportunity."
Her love for hockey began at a young age.
"At 3 years old, I had the privilege of feeling the freedom of learning to glide across the ice on my steel blades," she said. "I loved learning to skate at the local rink. There is something empowering about learning to skate and the first time you get a stick and puck in your hand. I want everyone who wants to try hockey to have that sense of empowerment."
Alt's background includes both hockey and figure skating, and she serves as a director and coach through the Professional Skaters Association and USA Hockey. She also is a Coaches Education Program trainer to certify youth coaches for USA hockey, and a professional powerskating coach.
"I have experience all around the rink from sharpening skates to directing programs," she said. "I grew up at the rink and I bring years of experience to build a successful youth hockey organization at Trine."
In the short term she hopes to build a strong youth hockey program at a controlled pace, becoming more competitive as the years go on.
"My hope is that Trine's hockey program will not only stand out for unparalleled instruction, but also for its positive community and the beginning of a long-standing, top-notch hockey tradition," she said.
In addition to building hockey skills, she said the program will provide youth the skills they need to be successful off the ice.
"They will learn perseverance, teamwork and leadership," she said. "They will leave with memories to last a lifetime. Whether they play on a the local association team, a traveling team or go on to get a college scholarship, the time they spent in hockey at Trine will hopefully leave a positive impact on them. Hockey helps build even stronger communities, and I can't wait to see the love for the game of hockey grow at Trine and the surrounding communities."