Given Katie Chan’s speed on skates it’s no wonder her hockey career is on the fast track too.
At 14, the 5-foot high-scoring dynamo from Richmond was the youngest player at the 2017 U18 National Championships in Quebec City where she helped Team BC capture a bronze medal. A few weeks later she announced her verbal commitment to Colgate University for the 2021-22 season. Her decision came after making two visits to the New York school and having over 20 NCAA Division One women’s hockey programs in pursuit of her.
“They began scouting me when I was in Grade 8 and I had been talking to me about a year,” smiled Chan. “By Grade 9 I went to the school, met the coaches and a couple of players. It was the second visit that I just fell in love with it. It was a pretty stressful process, I have to admit, but by the end of the I couldn’t be more happier with my decision.”
For the better part of Chan’s career she excelled among boys, playing for Seafair’s top rep teams right through Pee Wee. She then moved over to the girls’ side and had a leading role with a Richmond Ravens Bantam “A” team that won just about everything except the provincial championship two years ago.
It was during that season Chan began to turn heads at BC Hockey’s U18 evaluation camps, on her way to wearing provincial team colours for the very first time later that fall. She also skipped her final year of Bantam to play for the BC Midget AAA Female Hockey League’s Fraser Valley Rush out of Langley where she piled up 36 points in 26 games.
She has since made another significant change, leaving Steveston-London Secondary to spend her Grade 10 year at the Delta Hockey Academy as a member of the Wild Female Prep Team.
Her typical day starts at Planet Ice with practices, dryland sessions and classroom time through online correspondence. It’s then off to South Delta Secondary in the afternoons for the rest of her course load. One of the big advantages of the academy structure is her weekday evenings are now free.
The Wild are part of the Canadian School Sport Hockey League that features exclusively weekend showcase games throughout B.C. and Alberta.
Even though she has been slowed by a back injury that kept her out of action for over a month, Chan still leads the Wild in scoring with 32 points in 22 games. She is one of seven players from Richmond on the team.
“I couldn’t have asked for anything better,” she said of the academy experience. From the coaches, training staff and everything, I am just loving it. Having my nights off is definitely different than last year. That’s really nice.
“The girls are great here too and have been really supportive. It’s great having older teammates that can help with your homework too.”
Next month, Chan will be stepping away from DHA to play for Team BC again, this time at the Canada Winter Games. She still has two more years of U18 provincial team eligibility remaining and this time gets to soak in the multi-sport experience in Red Deer.
“I have heard so many good things about it and how it’s the closest thing to being at the Olympics,” she said. “Last year at nationals, I was blown away by everything. It was just the coolest experience so I am so stoked for it.”
Chan was joined by Richmond’s Courtenay Vorster and Kate Reilly on Team BC a year ago. Vorster has since moved on to college hockey at Quinnipiac while Reilly is back for her third stint. She attends Shattuck St Mary’s, a hockey boarding school in Minnesota.
Reilly will be counted on for her experience, as will Chan despite being one of just two 2003 born players on the team. She was top 10 in scoring at nationals a year ago.
“I definitely learned a lot about myself last year,” Chan continued. “Just to calm my nerves and play under pressure. Now I know how to use my nerves and turn it into energy.
“I look up to Courtenay and Kate so much. Both are great leaders and made me feel like I was part of the team even at such a young age.”
Chan also excels on the basketball court and last season helped Steveston-London capture the Grade 9 provincial championship, earning tournament all-star status. She planned on playing for South Delta’s junior girls team but was ruled ineligible for this season as per BC School Sports student transfer rules.
She plans on returning to DHA for her Grade 11 year which is good news for the Sun Devils senior girls basketball team too.