Tell us about yourself!
My name is Ali Stead and I currently live in Calgary, Alberta. I fell in love with hockey as an adult and have been learning to skate and play the game ever since. It all began when I tried a beginner ladies shinny, where I had so much fun! I stayed out on the ice after the shinny was over to work on stopping (using my skates instead of the boards! Haha). I’ve been at it for three years now and have been on the ice 3-10+ times a week ever since that day. I love trying to be better than I was the day before in all areas of hockey, and am always driven to improve.
A year in, I decided to start an Instagram account to document the process and it has turned into an amazing tool to learn and connect with a wide range of people from all over the world. I’m grateful to have a fantastic group of followers who support my journey of learning about hockey, and whom I’ve been able to impact and inspire. It means so much to me to get messages from people of all ages and levels telling me that they are inspired by me to go out there and learn this sport, or to get better at it even if they are already at a high level! It’s never too late to jump in and learn, and you can always improve no matter how high of a level you might already be at!
What made you want to be a WHL Brand Ambassador?
I love everything that WHL stands for and is working for and I’m so excited to be part of the WHL team! Being an ambassador is a fantastic way to get more involved in the movement that WHL is making in the world of girls’ and women’s hockey.
What are you most looking forward to as a #WHLAMBASSADOR?
I’m really looking forward to connecting followers and friends with WHL and bringing more awareness to WHL and to girls’ and women’s hockey. WHL is such a fantastic organization that is doing so much for the female game and for individual female players through highlighting, promoting and supporting women’s hockey around the world. I’m really excited to connect with other ambassadors – we have an amazing group of ambassadors from such a diverse range of backgrounds and everyone brings something unique to the table. It’s fantastic to be connected with all of these like-minded people to help spread and grow the women’s game!
What’s something not a lot of people know about you?
I have a few hobbies… one of the more unique ones is dirt jumping – riding bikes off jumps that are built for jumping and technical stunts in the air. The sport in itself is a small community with not a huge following right now, and even less women who are involved in it. I just got into it a year or two ago and enjoy doing it in my free time!
I was also in a professional band as the lead guitarist when I was younger and now I teach guitar lessons full time and play for fun in my spare time.
One other thing that I also got really into was stock trading, I love investing and finance. I’m a secret (or maybe not so secret) nerd and love reading textbooks.
I’m also a very picky eater! Right down to cutting my vegetables to the perfect size for my salad, or cutting the cheese to the exact thinness for a grilled cheese.
If you could sit down and have dinner with one female hockey player, who would it be and why?
I would love to sit down with a veteran from a long time ago, maybe as far back as the 1920s-1940s even. It would be really interesting to hear about the adversity faced and the amount of resilience that those women must have had to break gender barriers back in that time. Those are the ladies that laid the foundation for what we are still working towards to this day. I bet they would have some really inspiring and interesting stories!
What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given in hockey or in life?
This is a more practical piece of hockey advice but it’s been a game changer for me. The advice was to never ‘throw’ the puck away under pressure, and if anything to make the opponent take the puck off you. Having composure on the puck while under pressure has definitely been a mentally challenging thing for me but this advice really helped. I used to make bad passes and plays under pressure, but by having more composure on the puck when under pressure, I began to realize I usually had more time than I thought. This is still something that I work on constantly. Every now and then when I’m getting too tired during a shift or under more pressure I’ll ‘throw’ the puck away by forcing a bad pass etc., so having composure on the puck has been a big thing for me. Whenever I get caught in a tight situation I always think “Make them take it off me”.
What’s your dream for women’s hockey?
I hope that in the future of women’s hockey, we can start to have something that looks more like the NHL. It would be great if young girls had something to dream towards. So many young boys across the world dream of playing in the NHL and it would be so great it their sisters could have a similar dream and place to aspire to play. And at the recreational level, I hope that more women feel inspired and encouraged to learn or continue to play hockey as adults – it’s such a great way to stay healthy and have fun!
Interested in becoming a #WHLAMBASSADOR?