February 12, 2018 07:13 PM
When Olvia Bizal backstopped Blake to a semifinal win in last year's Girls' State Hockey Tournament, she had no idea it was the last time she'd play hockey.
"It was hard because it's the game I've played since I was little," Bizal said. "I've loved playing it and wanted to play in college."
At a national team camp last summer, a collision gave Bizal her fourth concussion. With two years of high school and a full ride to the University of Minnesota-Duluth ahead, Olivia retired.
"My head can't take another hit. Even from a puck, it's not worth it. I already get a lot of headaches. I can't do that anymore."
"She's one of the bravest people I know for the decision she made," Blake teammate Maddie Tix said.
Olivia quit playing, but she did not quit on her team.
"When I told them, they were supportive," Bizal said. "Told me how much I wanted to be around, I could."
Head coach Shawn Reid says she's very import to the team.
"She's in the locker room all the time. She's at practice. She's kind of a student-coach now. It says a lot about here character. It's unfortunate she can't play, but she's taking the mature route to it."
Plenty of players would have walked away from the sport completely, but not Olivia.
"She's so brave and she's so involved with our team," Blake junior CC Wallin said. "I look up to her as a role model for that."
Her role may have changed, but Olivia still loves the game.
"I miss it a lot," Bizal said. "It's a different type of adrenaline when I'm on the bench, but I still get that. I have my best friends on this team, so coming here and seeing all of them every day just makes me happy."
Created: February 12, 2018 07:13 PM
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