Beltz to sign with University of Maine

Beltz to sign with University of Maine

File photo by Steve Muscatello New Ulm girls’ hockey player Ali Beltz signed a National Letter of Intent to play college hockey at the University of Maine.

SLEEPY EYE — When this past high school hockey season began, Ali Beltz was pretty sure her future in college hockey was going to be at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls next year after she finished her senior season with the New Ulm Eagles girls’ hockey team.

Beltz, from Sleepy Eye, led the Eagles to a 23-6-1 record, a Section 2A title and a trip to the Minnesota State High School Hockey Tournament.

But her plans to attend River Falls changed when she received a phone call from the University of Maine.

“They got my contact number and watched some videos of me playing,” Beltz said. “And they said that they had a scholarship available. So I decided to take a trip to Orono, Maine. I checked it out and I really liked it.”

Beltz liked the D-I college so much that she verbally committed to play for the Black Bears next season, becoming the second girl in the history of the New Ulm hockey program and the first from Sleepy Eye to play D-I hockey.

Brooke Schugel is playing D-I hockey at University Minnesota-Duluth but is currently out with a knee injury.

Beltz said she will sign her D-I tender in mid-April.

“Playing D-I hockey has been my ultimate dream ever since I was little,” she said. “This was an opportunity that I could not pass up. I went out there (Orono, Maine) a week ago and then came back and talked it over with my family. And I verbally committed last weekend and I will sign my National Letter of Intent after April 11.”

Beltz, who led the state of Minnesota (boys and girls) in scoring this season with 61 goals and 32 assists, said she was impressed by how the Black Bears women’s program is building and developing.

“They were ranked 13th overall for all D-I hockey teams and when I visited there I felt that they really have something good going,” she said. “Their coaches are very supportive and they want to get the best out of their players. I was really impressed by the coaching staff, the sports trainers and performance trainers.”

Beltz said that her journey in hockey from the youth level to where she is now has been a labor of love and hard work.

“I am seeing it all pay off now,” Beltz said. “I have been working for it all my life and it is unbelievable how things happen. I never thought for a minute that I could not do this.”

Beltz said that adjusting to the play of D-I hockey will be tough, it will also be an adjustment being a long way away from family and friends.

“But I met a lot of the coaches and players there and they are like a big family,” she said. “And my parents can come and visit me every so often. I think that it will be worth it in the end.”

And Beltz has also raised the bar for future hockey players from Sleepy Eye and all over.

“They see someone like me who was able to do it,” she said. “It is not out of reach. If you work hard you can get it.”

Beltz’s career high school marks include 123 goals and 89 assists for 212 points.