Ava Boutilier has been a standout goalie for the University of New Hampshire (UNH) Women’s hockey team since she stepped foot on campus in the Fall of 2017. Her numbers are impressive having played in 108 games, recording 2.30 goals against average, a .923 save percentage and notching 12 career shutouts; however, more distinguishing are her accolades off the ice. Ava has excelled in the classroom where she just received her master’s degree in Biochemistry. Further, for the past two years she has served as the president of the Student Advisory Athletic Committee (a leadership group selected by coaches and teammates that builds community, promotes charitable service, and links communication between the administration and fellow athletes on vital issues), she is an active researcher in one of the many school labs and helps teach an undergraduate curriculum.
A testament to her giving nature, she still found the time to answer a few of our questions.
As a standout hockey player from Prince Edward Island (PEI) in the Canadian national development program, what drew you to UNH?
I was getting some attention from other schools, but when I visited UNH it just felt like home. I liked the size of the campus, and it wasn’t too far from PEI. When I met with the coaching staff, I was drawn to their philosophy and that I’d be give a chance to play regardless of my status as an incoming freshman.
What advice might you have for a high schooler who is researching a place to play a sport in college?
First, I’d talk to as many people as possible about places you are considering. Most coaches are well-connected and often can provide insight or introductions to programs. Next, don’t be afraid to promote yourself. Coaches are impressed by recruits who talk to them directly. Never work through your parents, be confident and show them you’re ready to come in and contribute.
Can you share what a typical day looks like for you in-season?
Typically, I’m up early to make sure I eat a good breakfast before heading out to a few hours of classes in the morning. We practice from 11:30 a.m. to 1:15 p.m., have a lifting session from 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m., and then it’s back to either class or the lab in the afternoon. I teach at night and then often have a few hours of homework to catch up on.
How do you keep up such a busy schedule and stay healthy?
First is good time management. I maintain calendars and lists. Every day I make a list of “must do” items and I commit to making sure they all get finished. There is a lot of sacrifice. I was able to do my undergraduate degree in three years by taking five or six classes every semester. It meant studying on the team bus during trips, skipping out on certain social events and staying focused on my studies while still playing my sport. Sleep is also important. I always strive for eight to nine hours per night. I pay attention closely to my nutrition and stay well hydrated.
You are very dedicated and focused; do you have any regrets looking back?
I do regret missing some social times with my friends and teammates. Now, I work hard to build them into my schedule, going so far as to schedule them on the calendar. It gives me something to look forward to and I need that time to connect with friends.
Any parting word for those entering college?
Try to make the most of your experience. There is so much to do on every college campus. Don’t look back and regret not trying something. Also, don’t take it for granted. I’ve loved my time at UNH, and it went by so quickly.
Special thanks to Ava Boutilier for taking the time to share her college experience with us! She should be proud of all she’s accomplished and is sure to find much continued success!
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