Star player shines with donor support
Scholarships and awards help a top student-athlete focus on her game
Scholarships and awards help a top student-athlete focus on her gameBy Staff Office of Advancement
Stephanie Sluys (BASc ’18) was just three years old when she formed her first memory of hockey. During a game, she broke down in tears on her way to the bench. She desperately wanted to get back on the ice and play goalie.
“I already had that urge to be in the net,” she recalls. “As the years went on, I got a little more competitive and a little more serious.”
Steph decided in high school that she wanted to pursue varsity hockey. Already a star athlete and a top student, she was courted with offers from multiple universities. She chose Waterloo because of its renowned kinesiology program and its emerging women’s hockey team, which was positioned to grow.
“Time management was definitely crucial,” she says of her student experience. “I think any varsity athlete can attest to that. The busier you are, the better, because your time is limited. You can’t waste any of it.”
Scholarships and awards made it easier for Steph to maintain that balance. With support from the UW Alumni Award and the RBC Athletic and Community Excellence Award, she was able to focus on her game.
“As a student-athlete you’re almost expected to train throughout the summer,” she explains, “so the financial support was definitely very helpful. Beyond that, the support I felt from people outside of the University was really nice.
“This past season I was supported by RBC, and they came to meet me. Just to be able to talk with the donors, to see that they were behind me, that was huge.”
When asked about a highlight of her hockey career, she recalls a game that set her team on the path to excellence.
“We were playing in Guelph,” she says, “and we tied it up with not a lot of time left in the game. Our captain scored a winning goal in overtime. It set off a huge winning streak that allowed us to make the playoffs. That feeling of being the underdog and accomplishing something great … I’m smiling just talking about it.”
Beyond Waterloo, Steph had the chance to play for the Canadian women’s ice hockey team at the 2017 International University Sports Federation (FISU) Games in Kazakhstan.
“That was another incredible experience,” she says. “A teammate, Rachel Marriott, and I were selected to represent Canada. We got to go to a Hockey Canada development camp, which was amazing in itself. Then we went to Kazakhstan for about two weeks and captured the silver medal there.”
Steph recently graduated from Waterloo with an honours degree in kinesiology. So, what’s next for this high achiever?
“I’m really excited. This fall, I’ll be going to college for firefighting,” she says. “I also just bought player’s equipment for a position outside the net. For me, it will be hard to compete at the level I want as a goalie, so I’m going to push myself and try something new.”