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Macaulay heading to National Aboriginal Hockey Championships in May

Bonnyville teen Ali Macaulay is heading to the National Aboriginal Hockey Championships in Whitehorse in early May.

The annual tournament is meant to showcase the ability of Bantam and Midget Aboriginal hockey players across Canada.

She made the team for the second straight year after a tryout in Edmonton.

“Last year I guess I went to Nationals as well and it got brought up because I had been before and Nationals just kind of came up. I said I’ll give it a shot and I made the team last year and I made the team again this year.

Macaulay played this season in Lloydminster with the Steelers. In 46 games, she scored two goals and six assists during the 2018-19 season while billeting away from home.

“Billeting was definitely challenging being away from family at such a young age, and getting used to the general outcomes and different ways situations can go. But my family is so supportive and it was awesome to be able to grow throughout the season when I was away.

This season saw a shift of position for Macaulay. For most of her life, she played offence, but after another look from the coaches, they decided to put her on defence.

“Last year I went through tryouts and I was playing defence…and then the coach asked if I wanted to play defence for the whole year and I said I’d think about. Then I just ended up staying there and it just took off from there.

Ali and her twin brother AJ are having a lot of on-ice success.

Besides heading to a national tournament again, Ali has been part of the Team AB Challenge Cup and Alberta Winter Games, while the Pontiacs signed AJ for next season.

So, who’s the better player?

“I wouldn’t say there’s no one person who’s better, but he definitely thinks he’s better. We’ll just tell him that he’s better,” she said laughing.

Macaulay’s team will practice in Edmonton this weekend where the team will meet each other for the first time.

“I have few friends or people I’ve played with before and people who are coming back. But there’s definitely a lot of new faces.

The 10 team tournament begins May 6 and continues until the gold medal match May 12.