Rylee Strohm Proves Age Is Just A Number
Strohm was one of the Crush’s top talents game in and game out, despite being the only Bantam aged player on a Midget team.
“I would describe my season playing up an age group with the Chatham-Kent Crush Midget ‘AA’ team as a great learning experience,” said the grade 9 student at Cardinal Carter in Leamington. “The physical maturity from a grade 9 to a grade 12 athlete is significant and posed some challenges initially. But throughout the season, I learned to play a more physical and aggressive game. Playing up a level this year was a great experience which forced me to play a faster game and make quicker decisions on the ice.”
For Strohm, she noticed many differences stepping in after playing Minor Bantam ‘A’ hockey with the Windsor Wildcats, and only starting high school, while playing alongside players looking at graduating high school.
“Being the youngest person on the team definitely came with challenges,” said the Kingsville resident. “When the season first started, I was still 13 and I was playing with 17 year olds. We were all at different stages of our lives, with different end goals in mind. Coming from Bantam ‘A’ hockey as a 13-year-old, I wasn’t very familiar with how the scouting and recruitment process worked. It was a huge eye opener this year to see the amount of college/university involvement throughout the season.”
That attention from the stands was often focused at Strohm, who will undoubtedly use this season as a stepping stone into the PWHL next year, after another season of growth and improvement.
“I think my game has changed and improved drastically this season. As I said before, the game at this level is significantly more physical. The speed of the game is also a lot quicker. I have learned to be more physical everywhere on the ice and increased the pace at which I play the game. I also became a more versatile player as I was able to play different positions on the ice.”
This versatility is what Strohm hopes allows her to be successful at a higher level next season, and continue to draw attention from scouts and recruiters.
“My goals for the next season and beyond are to play on a Provincial Women’s Hockey League team. After having an opportunity to play and practice with a few Provincial Women’s teams this past season, such as Kingston, Bluewater, Leaside, and Southwest, I am hoping to play with our local team, the Southwest Wildcats in the upcoming season. Beyond that, I hope to play at the university level. My ultimate dream would be to represent my country and play at the national level.”
With the success and growth Strohm exhibited this season with the Chatham-Kent Crush, nothing is out of reach for this young hockey player.