Alexandra Austin is the person you love as soon as you meet her. She has a warm smile in her eyes, and her choice of words reflects a very emotional and kind person who likes to help people. This 23 years old American is a former hockey player, currently living in Boston, Massachusetts. She is working as a clinical research coordinator at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in the Crohn’s and Colitis Center. Her job is to help the doctors there that she works with to run clinical studies. Ali also works to combat Inflammatory Bowel Disease and all of the awful symptoms that go with it.
Her parents still live in Minnesota, where they are all from, but visit often. Ali’s two younger brothers are playing hockey out East – one is a senior at the University of Connecticut, and the other is a freshman at Colgate University. They are both doing exceedingly well and hope to play in the NHL someday.
AN EXTREMELY BEAUTIFUL GIRL – INSIDE AND OUT
Beside hockey, Alexandra loves to play music and she’s taught herself guitar. This precious girl sings and occasionally writes songs and loves to play piano. Besides that, she also loves hiking and being active outside. She hopes to one day soon become a personal trainer.
Ali’s former teammates love her above all for being a good friend, always dedicated to the team. For them, she is an unbelievably talented singer, and they gladly remember how she sung the national anthem before their home games at Yale. They respect her good hockey IQ sense, and her continuous hard work on improving her skills. They see Ali as an ambitious young lady who has had to work so hard for everything she’d achieved. She has never given up even though her college career wasn’t kind to her. But they are completely sure Ali will be a great doctor one day, and can’t wait to see what else the future holds for her. For majority of them Ali is an extremely beautiful girl – inside and out
BUT IN THE END IT WAS ALL COMPLETELY WORTH IT
I started playing when I was 5. My parents put me in figure skating lessons, but I used to sneak off the ice and go watch the hockey players on the other sheet. That was the reason my parents signed me up to play on my brother’s team. My mom and dad were happy that my brother and I were doing the same thing, so it was less of a crazy time commitment for them. I’d say my friends thought it was a little weird for me being a hockey player. Growing up, I played each season on boys teams until 8th grade. They thought it was weird to spend so much time doing it and I know their parents thought mine were crazy for making us go so often. But in the end it was all completely worth it.
THE EMOTION I’LL NEVER FORGET
I’ve been so blessed to play for many hockey teams and have amazing experiences doing it. One of my favorite memories is of losing in the championship game of the Minnesota State Hockey Tournament in 2011 whil I was playing for the Edina Hornets. Almost my whole school was there cheering us on, since the school bussed them to the arena. We were playing where the Minnesota Wild play, which was amazing in itself. My classmates had signs and got really into the cheers and everything. It was such a unique experience that made me really feel like I was a vital part of the community. We lost, so it was extremely tough at the time and it’s still hard to look back on. But the emotion it brought out of me is something I’ll never forget.
THE BONDS I FORGED WITH THOSE GIRLS ARE WHAT MATTERS TO ME NOW
We were a bit of a dream team and we had so many D1 commits (D1 refers to Division 1, a class of sport within college hockey in the US. It is the highest level of college hockey in the US). We lost in the last minute of the championship game against Minnetonka high school. I’d never before felt so angry and frustrated. I made the all tournament team and they made us take a picture and I’ve never seen myself look so angry. I laugh every time I see it now. But the bonds I forged with those girls and the overall experience are what matters to me now, not necessarily that we lost the game.
HOCKEY WAS AND IS THE LOVE OF MY LIFE. I MISS IT EVERY DAY
The worst thing that happened to me because of hockey were my injuries. I got a very bad concussion my freshman year of college. That took me out of hockey for a year, and school for a semester. Unfortunately, it ended up precipitating the end of my career. Honestly, I’ve never had to do something so hard as stopping hockey. It was and is the love of my life and I miss it every day. I can’t even watch a hockey game today without feeling a little sad that it’s not me out there. It just makes me look forward to when I have kids and when I’ll get to help them through their hockey careers. That’ll be almost as good if not better than going through it myself
HOW YALE STUDENTS BECAME CONFECTIONERS
There are so many dear memories of hockey, that sometimes I lose count. One of my best life friends, a Swiss Olympian Phoebe Staenz and I used to prank each other a lot during our time playing hockey at Yale. It was hilarious and brought us together. We’d put clear tape on each other’s blades or hide our jocks. Always little things but funny. We also used to bake together – Phoebe Staenz, Rachelle Graham, Hanna Astrom and me. We even baked cookies including our hockey jerseys’ numbers on them.
HELPING OTHERS CONTINUE THE GAME WE BOTH LOVE, WOULD BE A DREAM FOR ME
In my future, I’m going to be applying to medical school in June. I hope to become an orthopedic surgeon for a professional or collegiate hockey team so that I can give back to players and hopefully save a few of their careers. While I might not get to be out on the ice, helping others continue the game we both love, would be a dream for me.
HOW HOCKEY MAKES US FEEL IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN ANYTHING
My note to the other players would be, enjoy everything and don’t take any of it for granted. Hockey is amazing and there are so many things that it will teach you that can be applied to all of life.
Hockey is a tough sport for anyone. You are constantly pummeling your body in training and in games. But it’s always worth it. What we think of ourselves and how hockey makes us feel is more important than anything. This sport has empowered me to push myself in every aspect of my life. Hockey is my favorite thing to do and I wouldn’t give it up for the world.