Bjorgan earns hockey scholarship
Holy Cross student signs with St. Lawrence University after playing at national U18 hockey championships
Hockey has afforded Rachel Bjorgan some great opportunities.
On Monday, the 17-year-old signed a letter of intent to attend St. Lawrence University in Canton, N.Y., to play with the Saints on a hockey scholarship. The signing ceremony was held at Holy Cross Secondary School.
It was one week after she returned from playing for Team Ontario Blue at the National U18 Women’s Hockey Championships in Morden and Winkler, Man. Her team placed fourth losing 2-1 in overtime to Quebec in the bronze medal game.
Bjorgan, a right wing, is also in her second season with the Whitby Jr. Wolves of the Provincial Women’s Hockey League, the female equivalent to the Ontario Hockey League.
It was two years ago at a U16 showcase that NCAA schools first noticed Bjorgan. She and her parents Bond, a teacher at Holy Cross, and Melissa began exploring options and visited six schools including some Canadian options.
“We made a pros and cons list and I just knew St. Lawrence was right for me,” she said.
“The coach (Chris Wells) has been coaching at the university for many years and the hockey program has a great reputation. Also, since I’m young and thinking for the future, it’s a liberal arts school which gives me lots of options for a career path. The main thing is it’s a smaller school and it felt like a home. It just felt so right to be there.”
It’s also not too far from home at a little more than a threehour drive.
“My family can come visit and watch me play,” she said.
One of the family members she is referring to is her grandfather Gordon Bjorgan who is one of her biggest supporters.
“He comes to all of my games ... He supported me throughout my decision to choose St. Lawrence. Financially, he’s supported me when I’ve gone away to camps,” she said.
At nationals, Bjorgan’s team won its pool with a 3-0 record beating Manitoba, Quebec and British Columbia. They lost 3-1 to Saskatchewan in semifinals. Ontario Red beat Saskatchewan for the gold medal. Bjorgan had two assists in five games.
“It was amazing to get the opportunity to play with some of the best girls in the province and against the best girls in the nation,” Bjorgan said.
“It was an amazing experience to get to know some of the girls I’ll be playing with and against at an even higher level at university. And getting to travel because I haven’t really travelled outside of Ontario many times in my life so that whole experience was pretty new and exciting.”
Bjorgan played in the Peterborough Girls Hockey Association Ice Kats rep program until her minor bantam season when she played with boys on the Minor Bantam AA Petes. The next two years she attended Trinity College School in Port Hope playing varsity hockey. She transferred to Holy Cross for Grade 11 and 12 when she joined the Wolves, commuting to Whitby for games and practices.
An all-around athlete, she played rep soccer growing up, high school basketball, volleyball, badminton and track and field. She made it to OFSAA for javelin and Eastern Regionals for 100 metre hurdles and the 200m dash last spring.
Hockey has always been her biggest passion.
“I’ve always had a fondness for hockey,” she said. “It was different from other sports because the season is so much longer and you get this incredible bond with your teammates. It just drew me in. I always found myself wanting to play it more than other sports.”
Peterborough’s Rachel Bjorgan says St. Lawrence University “felt like a home.”