Quite possibly one of the feel good stories about the 2015 Pan Am Games is the fact that there is a remarkable women’s hockey influence on the Canadian women’s baseball team. Among them is first baseman Amanda Asay, who boasts a remarkable hockey resume.
Although she possesses a softball background, having played the sport at the NCAA level for Brown University in Rhode Island, she would be a two-sport star for the Bears program. In addition to softball, she played for legendary head coach Digit Murphy on the women’s ice hockey program from 2006 to 2009. Prior to joining the Bears, she was a member of BC’s Under-18 Provincial Women’s ice hockey team, while also winning provincial championships with the BC Outback.
The 5’10” forward from Prince George, British Columbia would log her first career goal (on the power play) on November 11, 2006 against Ivy League rival Yale. Among her teammates at Brown were second-generation hockey player Erika Kromm, who would go on to play for Calgary in the Canadian Women’s Hockey League, plus Hayley Moore, the general manager for the NWHL’s Boston Pride.
During her time as a two-sport star at Brown, she also juggled commitments with the Canadian national women’s baseball team. Having first joined the national women’s baseball team at the tender age of 17 in 2005, she has traveled the world over while accumulating three medals in IBAF Women’s World Cup play. In 2006, she was honored as the Canadian national team’s Most Valuable Player, while hitting .500 and logging nine RBI’s at the 2006 IBAF World Cup, testament to her potential as a superstar.
Currently working on a doctorate at the University of British Columbia in forestry ecology (she earned a Masters from UBC in 2013), Asay also competes in a Vancouver men’s baseball league. Of note, her time at UBC also involved the extension of her hockey career.
Joining the UBC Thunderbirds in the autumn of 2010, her best performance was a two-goal output on January 29, 2011 against the Lethbridge Pronghorns. Facing a 1-0 deficit after two periods of play, Asay and freshman Tatiana Rafter (who would go on to win the 2014 Canada West Conference Player of the Year Award) each scored two goals in a 4-1 comeback win.
During her first season at UBC, she would rank among the Thunderbirds top five scorers. Although the Manitoba Bisons prevailed on Asay’s senior night with the Thunderbirds, she would score both goals. Coincidentally, Rafter would earn the assist on her final Canadian Interuniversity Sport goal.
Recognized as a finalist for the Tip O’Neill Award in 2006, which is awarded annually to a Canadian baseball player, she was the only female baseball player among the ten finalists. Should Canada’s women capture the gold medal in women’s baseball at the 2015 Pan Am Games, it is very possible that a female player may finally capture the prestigious baseball honor.
Should she find the hitting stroke that established her as a future star at the 2006 IBAF World Cup, Canada will certainly find itself in the conversation towards a gold medal. As women’s baseball makes its debut at the Pan Am Games, the fact that it is being hosted on home soil in Toronto only adds to the excitement.
Like her fellow ballplayers that have once graced the rink, her experience (and success) on the ice may translate into that extra element that separates the gold from the silver. From the likes of Laurier Golden Haws alums Ashley Stephenson and Kate Psota, three other women with hockey backgrounds are part of Canada’s baseball roster. York Lions legends Samantha Magalas (first base coach) and Autumn Mills, plus NCAA Frozen Four champion Daniella Matteucci complement Asay’s proud legacy in the successful transition from the rink to the diamond. Getting the opportunity to contribute to a remarkable chapter in female (and Canadian) sporting history, the only legacy that may outlast a gold medal may be their standing as amazing role models.
Baseball photo credit by: Brent Braaten, Hockey photo credit by: Rich Lam