By the time she was 4 years old, Ali Beltz was on the ice with her skates laced, slowly fueling her passion for hockey.
Now a senior at St. Mary’s Catholic High School, and a skater with the New Ulm High School girls’ hockey team, Beltz has never strayed far from the ice. The dynamic forward captured the regular season state scoring title with a stunning 62 goals and 93 points in just 25 games. She then tallied 6 goals and 12 points in three section games, including the game-winning goal sending New Ulm to the State Tournament.
The Sleepy Eye native’s dreams of playing college hockey will soon become reality. She suits up for the University of Wisconsin-River Falls, a perennial Division III powerhouse, next season.
We caught up with Beltz to learn how her last year of high school is going, what it’s like to balance multiple sports, and the best parts about the great state of Minnesota.
MHJ // Scoring goals is second nature for you. What’s been your secret to success?
Ali Beltz // I think just having fun and confidence would be my two things this year. I feel super comfortable with my team and my role this year. I really just put it all on the ice and have fun, and I think that brings a lot of success to me.
MHJ // Is it bittersweet to have such a successful senior season, but know your high school hockey career is over?
Beltz // Definitely. High school is just so fun. I’m ready to move on to the next stage in my life, but it’s also sad to see high school go because I’ve made so many memories.
MHJ // New Ulm had a remarkable season. What was your favorite part about playing with these girls?
Beltz // I’ve known them for so long—I’ve known them all my life. I can go out there and play with them and we all have so much fun together. I’m just super comfortable with them.
MHJ // Do you remember the first time you stepped on the ice as a kid?
Beltz // I think I was 4. My parents put me out there and I’ve liked it ever since. I don’t ever remember not liking it. My brother played hockey, too, and we’d always have little competitions. I’ve always had a passion for it and I’ve never stopped liking hockey.
MHJ // How do you find a balance between hockey and other activities?
Beltz // I play three sports: volleyball, softball and hockey. It’s definitely tough. I’d say hockey is my love and it’s hard to balance hockey with other programs, especially when you want to do something during the other sports season. It’s hard, and you have to sacrifice one or the other. It’s taught me a lot about time management and making decisions.
MHJ // You participated in the USA Hockey Girls’ 15 National Player Development Camp a few years ago. What was that experience like for you?
Beltz // That was so surreal. I’ve never been a part of something that big and I couldn’t believe it. There were Olympians there talking to us, along with college coaches. It was a little bit scary and intimidating, but I met so many new girls and it was so much fun.
MHJ // The hockey culture in Minnesota is second to none. How do you think this community has helped you become a better player?
Beltz // In Minnesota, it seems like we’re all just crazy hockey fans. We all help each other to get better and push each other. I think everyone is kind of a little community and we all love hockey and playing the game.
Favorite subject in school? Math
Favorite kind of music? Country music
Most embarrassing moment? Before one of my games, I had my skate guards on. I didn’t even know. I kept falling and trying to get up.
What’s one skill you would love to learn? I’ve always wanted to play lacrosse.
Favorite meal? Sesame chicken with rice.
Most used emoji? Definitely the laughing/crying one.
MHJ // What do you enjoy doing in your community of Sleepy Eye when you’re not playing hockey?
Beltz // I referee and officiate youth hockey games during the hockey season as my way of giving back to those who have allowed me to play the game I love. I’ve been a USA youth hockey official the past four years—reffing on weekends at my hometown rink in Sleepy Eye.
MHJ // Senior year is almost over, but you’re not done playing hockey as you’re headed to UW-River Falls to play. Has it always been a dream of yours to play college hockey?
Beltz // Ever since I was a little girl I always wanted to play college hockey. I’m so excited and happy. I’m from a really small town, so it fits me a lot. They have my major, which is pre-physical therapy. I love the campus there and the team is doing really well. I’ve met some of the girls on the team and they’re really fun, so I can’t wait. It’s also only two and a half hours from home. That’s definitely a big part of it, so my family can come to games.
MHJ // Besides hockey, what are your favorite Minnesota activities during the summer and winter?
Beltz // In the summer, probably my favorite thing to do is go to a lake near Alexandria with my family. We go boating, tubing and skiing. I love water activities and campfires in the summer. In the winter, I like sledding with all my friends, and playing out in the snow is fun. Obviously outdoor hockey is fun, too.