For 12-year-old Skylar Ruschpler, hockey is her life.
The Sault native took up the game eight years ago, and started playing the way most Canadian kids do – in her backyard.
“We had a rink in our backyard and my brothers always played. Being the younger sibling, I usually looked up to them. So I wanted to do whatever they did,” she said.
As soon as she started playing, she knew she was going to like the game.
“I like being part of a team and playing in tournaments. I’m very competitive so I like the competition,” said the Grade 6 student at Boreal French Immersion Public School.
But Ruschpler isn’t just a competitive hockey player. She also spends her time promoting the game to others through her Instagram page as an ambassador of Women’s Hockey Life.
Women’s Hockey Life is an organization that focuses on supporting women’s hockey. They provide resources and help players, parents, coaches, fans and anyone else involved in the women’s hockey community.
“Women’s Hockey Life helps build awareness for girls in hockey all over the world. I applied to be an ambassador because everyone there wants to show the world that girls can be just as good and strong as boys in sports,” she said.
At just 12 years old, Ruschpler has accumulated over 7,000 Instagram followers while being a WHL ambassador, which definitely helps her cause.
“Having a larger platform helps me to share my hockey journey, promote the game and break down barriers for girls in sports,” she said in a Q&A session with Women’s Hockey Life.
She posts videos of her playing hockey, supporting various fundraisers, and and even promoting hockey products.
Ruschpler plays and practices around six days a week and enjoys every minute of it.
She currently plays for the girls Pee Wee A Jr. Greyhounds and has 13 goals in seven games and has scored over 50 per cent of her team’s goals.
She also plays games three times a week against adult male and female players.
In the summer, Ruschpler plays for a Toronto-based team comprised of some of the top AA and AAA girls in the Greater Toronto Area.
She says playing for her team in Toronto is something she always looks forward to.
“It’s nice to have friends that are my age that also play hockey,” she said.
In the future, Ruschpler hopes to work toward eventually competing in the 2030 Olympic Games.
“I really want to get there,” she said. “It’s my dream.”
Ruschpler’s mindset of “follow your dreams and work hard” might actually land her there.
“She works harder than anybody I’ve ever seen. She’s driven like crazy and she’s out shooting pucks every day,” said Al Ruschpler, Skylar’s dad.
Ruschpler’s Instagram page can be found at @skylar.ruschpler.