Amber Steinhilpert is Athabascan and a freshman in high school. She has been playing hockey for the past five seasons. She is the daughter of Charles Steinhilpert, Jr. and Ada Chapman. Currently, Amber plays for a comp team, the Tier II U16 Alaska Allstars. Her usual position is left-wing but she can also play center or defense positions. Earlier in the season, I watched her play and spoke with her.
Amber and her team took second place at Nationals in the Tier II U16 Girls Hockey Championships in April 2016. They lost 2-1 after a goal was waived off, but it was a hard-fought battle. Still, second place in the nation is quite an accomplishment. Before a team can continue to Nationals, the hockey players had to win Districts. Amber and her team won first place as they dominated the Pacific District Championships in Anchorage in March 2016.
Attending Nationals (aka Natty’s) provided an opportunity for college scouts to watch the best talent in the Nation. Amber enjoyed this experience, playing with and against advanced and top notch hockey players. Another parent shared with Ada, “It’s rare for a hockey player to attend Nationals her fifth season!” Go Amber!
Amber is her team’s Puck Flip Champion, with 270 flips in one attempt. She also made 2016 Selects, a Multi-District Player Development Camp and will go to Colorado in June. In 2015, she made 2015 Selects and met athletes from the Pacific and Rocky Mountain Districts.
Now that comp hockey season is done (for now), Amber plays on her high school JV soccer team. In her first game, she scored a goal, assisted on a goal, and had a breathtaking save. Being Amber’s first time playing soccer, her coach played her in forward position for the first half, defense the second half, and goalie in the last 10 minutes. She enjoys playing a variety of sports!
I was impressed with Amber’s dedication to hockey. She focuses on improving her skills and shooting. She practices shooting the puck, on her own time, in her back yard. She also practiced Lacrosse to build up the dexterity of her hands. Now, her mom helps her practice shooting skills in the front yard, as her dad helped her when she first started playing hockey.
Since the summer of 2015, Amber has worked part time on top of attending school and participating in sports. This season, she started helping her parents pay her monthly hockey fees. Amber does her best in school studies maintaining a 3.8 GPA, and is taking honors classes. Amber is an athlete. In her free time, she enjoys hiking and working on her upper body and leg strength.
According to Ada, it takes time and commitment. Ada says, “If you want your children to be involved in hockey, get them on the ice.” She and her husband have brought Amber and her siblings to countless practices and games. Ada listens to what each coach and other parents say about how Amber is playing. Their input can be invaluable. Ada has gotten to know the rules of the game and has learned what it takes for her daughter to succeed.
This year, Amber played her first season in high school girls’ hockey, South Bartlett, managed by the Scotty Gomez Foundation. Her high school coach recognized her knowledge, skills and abilities, and depended on her to lead her team in warm-ups, and was also Assistant Captain.
In late 2015, Amber was one of the girls chosen to represent girls’ hockey in Anchorage in a national commercial for Dick’s Sporting goods. Kudos to Dick’s Sporting Goods Foundation for giving girls’ hockey in Anchorage a holiday assist!
Amber wants people to realize that hockey is a girl’s sport too. She says, “Girls can play just as good as boys, don‘t let anyone discourage you.” When she first started playing hockey, she could barely skate backwards, so she kept practicing. She says hockey isn’t always about high intensity or speed but also about using hockey sense and having the basic skills to play smart.
Over the years, Amber had a few minor concussions and bruising from playing hockey. She says having puck awareness can help minimize injuries. She is driven and that can help her team. However, whether her team wins or loses games, her mother considers her a winner. Ada says, “It’s not always about winning. Being fit and tone by focusing on nutrition and exercise is just as important. It is also about doing her best.”
Amber’s team has experienced some hard lessons and she keeps a positive attitude. Over the years, she met many players, made some friends, even from other teams. Amber keeps in mind that she could end up playing on the same team as an opposing player. There is a sense of camaraderie and respect among hockey players.
Amber plans to play hockey in college and dreams of playing for Team USA. I’m sure her parents will support her efforts. I could see how determined she was on the ice, and best wishes to Amber as she works to achieve her goals!