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Sam on Sports: Mikayla Williams

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Curve Lake First Nation member Mikayla Williams has accepted an academic scholarship offer to attend and play hockey at Southern Maine University. – Photo courtesy of Mikayla Williams

By Sam Laskaris

CURVE LAKE FIRST NATION – Curve Lake First Nation member Mikayla Williams will be taking her talents to Southern Maine University women’s hockey program this coming school year.

Her initial classes will commence during the final week of August.

The Southern Maine University Huskies are an NCAA Division III (3) squad. The program is not allowed to offer athletic scholarships to incoming students, but the school is able to extend academic scholarships to those who are deemed worthy.

More than half of Williams’ first-year expenses, an estimated $23,000 (USD), will be covered by the school.

Williams was able to secure some post-secondary funding as she had a relatively impressive final year of high school.

She spent her Grade 12 year at the Okanagan Hockey Academy, located in Penticton, B.C.

Williams’ overall average in her final year of high school studies was about 85 per cent.

A stay-at-home defenceman, Williams also stood out while playing for the Okanagan girls’ hockey program.

She caught the eye of collegiate hockey talent seekers on both sides of the border as her Okanagan squad not only participated in a league, but also had various showcase tournaments in B.C., Alberta, Ontario, and Minnesota.

Williams wasn’t 100 per cent sure whether she should commence her post-secondary career now.

She had thought of returning home and playing in the Ontario-based junior circuit dubbed the Provincial Women’s Hockey League.

Williams originally felt if she had a decent junior campaign this coming year, she might even be able to land a scholarship with an NCAA Division 1 club, but there was no guarantee that would happen.

So, she decided to accept the Southern Maine University offer when it came along.

Williams recognizes the importance of getting a quality education while she can will undoubtedly prove beneficial in the long-run.

Williams aspires to eventually become a sports psychologist. Enrolling in Southern Maine University’s psychology program is a right step in that direction.

Williams has been playing hockey since the age of four when she started toiling in a youth program in a Peterborough association. She credits her parents, brother, and grandparents for their support throughout her career.

While growing up, Williams said she never had any female hockey role models, but she’s hoping young Indigenous female players will be looking up to her soon.

She wants to prove to them that you can indeed come from a small First Nation and go on to become successful.

And that success does not necessarily mean attending a big-name school that is a household name.

Williams plans to spend four years studying and playing hockey at the Southern Maine University campus located in Portland, Maine.

And then after that?

Though she’s still a teen, Williams already realizes that will in all likelihood be the end of the line for her elite competitive playing days.

But there will be nothing wrong that. Especially if she’ll have a university degree and be ready to take on the world.

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