Nesbitt, Manitoba’s Rylee Martin has officially put pen to paper on her commitment to Nebraska’s Midland University Warriors for the 2021-22 school year.
“I am very excited to be furthering my education and hockey career at a post-secondary level commencing this fall,” Martin told Game On. “This is an opportunity I’ve looked forward to my whole life. I am so grateful that my hard work and dedication towards the sport I love has paid off. It really is a dream come true.”
For the 17-year-old forward, choosing Midland was about more than just the on-ice production and the athletic program.
“Midland University was the school of choice for me because it houses not only a competitive hockey program that I believe I will fit very well in, but an educational atmosphere that will provide me with the knowledge and understanding in fields I am planning on pursuing a career in,” the mathematics major said. “The feeling of community resulting from a smaller campus size and the many other sports teams and students to support at Midland are also factors that draw me to this school.”
Joining the Warriors and attending a Division I ACHA school will be a big step up for the current Manitoba U-18 AAA Female Hockey League forward, but a progression that she knows she is ready for.
“Teams throughout the MFHL have such a high compete level and that competitive environment fosters the continual improvement of players and teams,” she said of her time with Westman. “That has been a large contributor to how much I have developed while playing in this league and being a part of the Wildcats program.”
Suiting up in just five games for Westman prior to the province of Manitoba’s current public health order shutting down all minor hockey, Martin had two goals and four points in a hot start to the 2020-21 season. Through 117 total games with the Wildcats since the start of 2018-19, the two-way forward has a combined 11 goals and 25 points.
“Westman has played such a significant role in getting me to my current position that I can’t express enough how appreciative I am towards it and everything the people in it have brought me,” Martin added. “Over the years with the Wildcats, my coaches, teammates, and opponents have instilled various life values in me such as a good work ethic, respect, and accountability to others and helped shape me into the player and person that I am today.”
Situated in Fremont, NEB., Midland is a Lutheran university home to the Division I American College Hockey Association’s Warriors. Last season, Midland went 16-15-1 with a +29 goal differential. Only able to have played 12 games thus far in 2020-21, the Warriors are 6-6-0, which includes the team not participating in any contests between October 11th and January 16th, as COVID-19 wreaked havoc across the league.
“Rylee has the opportunity to have an immediate impact on our program,” Warriors head coach Jason White said. “She is a skilled center that can play at both ends of the ice. Her speed and strength, combined with her natural hockey ability, will make her one of the top freshmen to watch next year.”