The phrase ‘been there, done that’ tends to be a little bit overused.
Unless you’re Alex Poznikoff. Because when it comes to women’s hockey in
Canada, the University of Alberta star has been almost everywhere and done
pretty much everything you can do in the game.
Where do we start? As a minor hockey standout, Poznikoff led her Edmonton
Thunder to back-to-back-to-back trips to the Esso Cup, Canada’s National
Female Midget Championship, from 2013-15.
During that run, she represented Alberta at the 2013 National Women’s
Under-18 Championship, and cracked Canada’s National Women’s Under-18 Team
roster for a three-game series against the U.S. in the summer of 2014.
A sought-after college recruit, Poznikoff spurned U.S. offers and decided
to stay close to home and join a powerhouse Pandas program under head coach
“I talked to quite a few NCAA schools, but I was always a fan of the
Canadian game,” Poznikoff says. “I thought, ‘Why not to grow the Canadian
game as a Canadian hockey player?’ I strongly believe that we have so much
talent here that can stack up, and I wanted to make a difference.”
And she has. Poznikoff helped the Pandas to their eighth U SPORTS national
championship in 2017, won silver with Canada at the 2017 Winter Universiade
in Kazakhstan and made another international appearance with Canada’s
National Women’s Development Team last summer.
Oh, and she won the Brodrick Trophy as the best player in Canadian women’s
university hockey last season after leading all of U SPORTS in scoring, was
a first-team All-Canadian and helped the Pandas back to the national
So … ya. Been there, done that.
As she pulls on the U SPORTS sweater once again as part of the BFL National
Women’s Development Team Selection Camp in Calgary, her focus is the same
as it was the first three times she came to camp – to do her part to
showcase the talent that exists in Canadian women’s university hockey.
“I am a huge supporter of U SPORTS, and I would like to see the league
progress and keep getting better and more recognized,” Poznikoff says.
“This year, I wanted to come [to camp] and make sure all the girls were
having a good time, while also proving that our league is stacking up where
But while she is a team-first player through and through (which might
explain why she is wearing the ‘C’ with the university stars this week),
Poznikoff admits there’s a selfish reason she likes coming to camp: Being
amongst the best players in the country can only help her get better.
“That’s one of my favourite parts – you see these players, you play against
some of them and you don’t really get to really see that different skill
and talent,” she says. “So when you’re practicing with them, or warming up
with them, or playing on lines, you’re talking to them and learning what
they’re doing, and it does really expand your tool box.”
Poznikoff is also expanding her ever-growing list of teammates. She jokes
that thanks to her U SPORTS and Team Canada connections, she could end up
just about anywhere in the country and find a couch to sleep on.
That’s the beauty of the hockey community. Canada is huge, but the game
makes it feel much smaller.
“[It’s about] being able to build relationships and have that sense of
purpose and family outside of your actual family,” she says. “You spend
more time with the girls at the rink during the season than your actual
family sometimes, so to have those kinds of relationships with so many
people is spectacular.”
Entering her fifth and final season of U SPORTS eligibility, Poznikoff has
one year left to build on those relationships before it’s off to the ‘real
world.’ She is waiting for the questions surrounding professional women’s
hockey to be answered before she plots out too much of her future, but
hockey will play a role in her post-Panda plans.
After all, for everything she’s done and everywhere she’s been, there’s
still one big item on the to-do list.
“I want to keep the Olympic team in sight and shoot for that.”