Kassy Betinol credits her brothers for getting her into the sport that has given her everything.
“My journey with hockey started when I was really young with my two older brothers,” said Betinol. “My brother was a goalie and I really wanted to be a goalie so I went to all of his goalie lessons and would watch all of his practices.”Her favourite memories growing up were the hours spent in the basement with the goalie pads strapped on as her brothers fired shots at her; but Betinol’s dreams of being a goalie were dashed as she became an offensive force on the ice.
Becoming a fixture with Team Alberta, Betinol’s hockey journey took her from her hometown in Okotoks to the Okanagan where she played in the Canadian Sport School Hockey League (CSSHL) throughout her high school, before traveling across the border to University of Minnesota-Duluth to play NCAA Division I hockey.
“Being in the Team Alberta environment, a more organized and professional environment helped me develop,” said Betinol. “Growing up in Okotoks, it’s such a nice size small town and moving out in high school, being away from my parents and having to make decisions on my own made me less homesick when I got to Duluth. Coming to the (United) States has always been my dream. Playing in the NCAA, in front of all these crazy fans, has been unbelievable.”
After a rookie NCAA season cut short due to COVID-19, Betinol earned an invite to Canada’s National Women’s Development Team 2020 Summer Camp. Even though the camp – her first with Hockey Canada – was cancelled due to the pandemic, Betinol spent time on Zoom calls with the top players from across the nation.
“Moving forward, I want to work as hard as I can to get as far as I can within the (Hockey Canada) program,” said Betinol. “I want to have these experiences to use to give back to the game later and guide the younger players. The women’s game is growing and in the right strides.”
Betinol wants to utilize her experiences to give back to the game - including being an Asian-Canadian female hockey player.
“You don’t see a lot of players with Asian backgrounds, so it’s really cool to say that I have that. Being a little bit different means a lot to me,” said Betinol. “I’m in a pretty fortunate spot to say that I haven’t had to face many challenges. Every town that I’ve lived in and every program that I’ve played for have been super welcoming and I can’t see I’ve had any crazy problems with it.”
With two seasons under her belt with Minnesota-Duluth, Betinol is already eyeing professional opportunities for her post-university career. The opportunities hockey has continued to give Betinol are endless and she owes the game, and her brothers, everything.