This month’s alumni spotlight focuses on Bella McKee.
Four years ago, Bella McKee was preparing for the thrill of competing in the Canada Winter Games in front of a home province crowd in Red Deer.
Her work in the crease helped Team Alberta U18 female squad to its first gold medal since 2011.
“Winning a gold with Team Alberta at the 2019 Canada Winter Games in Red Deer is my favourite hockey memory,” said McKee.
The four years in between have been a bit of a whirlwind, and today, McKee is again preparing for the Canada Winter Games – this time in her new role as Team Alberta’s female goaltending coach – as Team Alberta prepares to defend its gold medal February 27-March 5 in Prince Edward Island.
For McKee, her first experience playing elite hockey with the Lloydminster Bantam AAA IceCats taught her how to become an athlete – and since then she has never looked back.
With her older siblings already playing hockey, McKee took to the ice when she was four years old. Growing up in Irma, it was natural that McKee played hockey and ball. The skills she developed in softball as a catcher helped her hone her skills as a goaltender.
“My favourite thing about playing hockey is the unpredictability of every game. Each game is a new challenge and a new opportunity,” said McKee. “(In ball,) my hand-eye coordination, reaction time, and of course, compete level were constantly challenged.”
Playing her minor hockey in Irma, she moved on to play AAA with the IceCats and then with the U18 Steelers.
“Playing with the Steelers and IceCats taught me how to train my body on and off the ice. My playing experience molded me into a better person for life after hockey,” said McKee.
After graduating from the Alberta Female Hockey League, McKee took her talents to Union College, where she suited up with the Dutchwomen to play NCAA Division I in the ECAC. When she returned from Union College, McKee got the opportunity to coach the Lloydminster U18 Bobcats and the U18 Steelers.
Turning to coaching opened a new chapter for McKee, including starting her own goaltending business, B.McKEE Goaltending, and helping start a vision training company, Summit Sport Performance and Vision Training. And the dedication to her craft has led McKee back to the Canada Winter Games as 2023 Team Alberta Female’s Goaltending Coach.
“Coaching was an awesome opportunity to give back to the hockey community,” said McKee. “I couldn’t be more excited to join Team Alberta at the 2023 Canada Winter Games as the Female Goaltending Coach!”