By Carter Brooks
Photos by Dylan Asmundson

For first-year head coach Ed Mauro of RINK Hockey Academy’s Female U-18 Prep team, the club’s MVP thus far has been Grade 9 forward Rowyn Street.

Yes, you read that right; a first-year player has been the top player on a U-18 team - not just the top rookie, but the top player outright.

How is that possible, one may ask. For starters, all you’d need to do is have a brief look through the team’s individual statistics, and the answer should fall directly into your lap. Street, who will have played her entire first season of U-18 as a 14-year-old, leads RINK in goals, points, power play goals, shorthanded goals and game-winners. 

“From the second I met her, I knew that she was a player; I knew she was an athlete and I knew she was serious,” coach Mauro told Game On. “Rowyn comes from a very supportive family and is a very talented player that wants to get better. Through conversation with her, I know that she wants to play university hockey, and she certainly has that ability, almost already.”

High praise from a guy who has previously earned his keep the last number of years coaching Junior women’s hockey in Ontario. But it wasn’t just her offensive awareness, scoring prowess and nose for the net that Mauro complimented.

“The future looks really good for her from a hockey perspective, both on and off the ice,” he added. “Rowyn is super hard-working. One thing that stands out is that she tries new things; she gets out of her comfort zone because she wants to get better. She knows that that's one of the avenues she needs to take in order to become a better player.”

So, how did she get to this point? Well, it wasn’t the conventional path by any means. As a matter of fact, Street actually played boys hockey up until this season, to which she suited up for the AAA Winnipeg Wild last year as a 13-year-old. 

“I played girls in 7/8, but I just wanted a bit more of a challenge, so I figured switching to boys would be a better option for me,” Street told Game On. “I made that switch and worked my way to the AA Rangers for 13/14, which meant playing with more competition; all those kids were really serious about it, so I think that really helped me. But last year when I made AAA boys, that was definitely my biggest accomplishment and a huge step forward for my development. On that team, everyone was there to improve and the intensity was always high. A lot of those boys have big dreams, so I really enjoyed it.”

As one of just two female skaters in the entire U-15 AAA league, Street held her own to the tune of eight goals and 28 points in 33 games with the boys, before bringing her talents back to the female game with RINK Winnipeg for 2023-24. 

“They approached me, but it was a hard decision to make,” she said of switching to girls hockey. “I really liked the RINK’s program, but what they were offering, their program, it was a deal breaker for me. Their training, both on and off-ice was just huge. That was something that a lot of places just don’t offer. Their facility is really nice, they take their training very seriously and offer you pretty much everything there. You are on the ice every day, you’re in the gym, and I think my team is pretty awesome too.”

With boys hockey now in the rearview mirror, facing off against some of the best young women from all across Canada already has Street thinking outside the Canadian Sport School Hockey League’s box, and rightly so.

“My biggest dream that I really want to accomplish is to play Division I university hockey in the United States,” she said. “Obviously, I also hope to make Team Manitoba as well as the U-18 Team Canada. The big dream for me would be to make Team Canada in the future, but right now, university is a focus.”

With the newly-formed Professional Women’s Hockey League now serving as an option for a career path for young women, there is nothing holding Street back from a professional career playing hockey in North America either, her coach says.

“They're in a really good spot with this new league starting,” Mauro said. “By the time they finish here, go to university, that's like seven years from now, right? I’d imagine that in seven years that league could double in size and salary. 

So, these girls are in a really good spot for the possibility of playing professionally.”

For the girl who grew up idolizing Marie-Philip Poulin – who now serves as the captain of the PWHL’s Montreal franchise – the best hockey of Street’s career is undoubtedly still yet to come. 

Carter Brooks | Game On Magazine