For England, the weekend will not only serve as a birthday celebration, but it will give her a chance to extend her collegiate hockey career.
“On the ice, she is one of our hardest working players,” ASU head coach Lindsey Ellis said. “She is always the first one to step up and get everybody going, and honestly, it’s just her work ethic — It’s unparalleled.”
Prior to attending ASU, England went to Chandler-Gilbert Community College. England is an Arizona native, yet she has spent more than her fair share of time outside of the state.
While attending Chandler-Gilbert, England continued to play hockey, competing with the Colorado Tigers hockey program, flying back and forth between Arizona and Colorado every weekend to play.
“I would fly out on Friday early morning, stay there all weekend, and either fly back to Arizona late Sunday night or early Monday morning, and then go straight to school,” England said. “It was a full plate. I was a full-time student, but it was fun.”
As many college hockey players on the West Coast have experienced, the chance to play college hockey at an elite level is limited within local areas.
Many local players within the Valley often venture out of the state to have a chance to continue playing the sport they love.
While the wear and tear of constant travel can grow old, the experience is worth it for the players who can continue their hockey careers.
For England, that chance to keep playing came when ASU established a women’s hockey program last year. England was an alternate captain in the program’s inaugural season, and she has continued to wear the “A” on her jersey.
Beyond accomplishments and accolades, England said the friendships she has made with her teammates have left a lasting impact on her.
“It’s just the friendships that I have made (with ASU),” England said. “All of the girls, we have bonded and connected.”
One person who understands England’s journey is senior defenseman and captain KC McGinley.
McGinley has been alongside her the whole way, as the two grew up playing club hockey together for the AZ Selects and the Arizona Lady Coyotes. The two teammates have a strong bond to say the least.
“She used to live at my house for breaks,” McGinley said. “I am pretty sure she spent two months at my house one time. She has been on vacations with us (KC’s family), so we are like actual sisters.”
England is listed as a junior on the ASU roster, but she will finish her course requirements for graduation this summer.
In January, England and McGinley were both honored during ASU’s first-ever senior night, and both players will leave the program following this year’s postseason run.
As for what is ahead for England after graduation, the alternate captain is majoring in exercise and wellness, and she aspires to work in physical therapy or as a certified exercise physiologist. England even helps her own teammates with aches and pains that come with a demanding hockey season.
“She would do anything for any one of us,” McGinley said. “She works on whoever needs to be worked on before (games). She’s a massage therapist, so she will help us out so we are feeling good for the game ... She’s awesome.”
Over the course of two seasons, England has recorded 20 points while being one of the team’s most consistent and hard working players.
In addition to her time as a forward, England has played in the defensive zone, shifting between between the two positions to create versatility on a small ASU roster.
She will be remembered as one of the first four captains of the ASU women’s hockey program, and her work ethic and dedication to the team will not go overlooked in the coming years.
However, there is still work to be done as the Arizona native winds down her hockey career in Tempe. England and the Sun Devils can determine their fate in just a couple of weeks in Nebraska.
“It’s just the mere fact that I got to play on the ice one last time at a collegiate level,” England said. “It’s definitely surreal, and I will probably never forget it, and it was a good time. I think my time is up, and I have to hang up the laces now.”
The WWCHL Playoffs are set to begin on Friday, Feb. 23 in Fremont, Nebraska. An opponent and time has yet to be determined for the Sun Devils.