Callie McKay of Enfield (seated at table with head coach Matthew Bland), is joined by her Aquinas College teammates as she officially signs. (Submitted photo)

ELMSDALE: 2,325 kilometres.

That’s how much distance it is between small town Nova Scotia and the journey to big dreams being realized for Callie McKay.

The goaltender from Enfield has just signed her commitment papers to join Aquinas College for the 2024-2025 hockey season.

Aquinas College, known better as the Saints, play in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA).

McKay, who was between the pipes for the Hants East rural High Lady Tigers and played boys with the Cole Harbour Red Wings, is excited about the opportunity that awaits. She’s ready to make the most of it.

“It all came about super fast,” said McKay. “I went to a few of the classes with some of the girls.

“The whole team was there when I signed. It felt amazing to have that amount of support, and the excitement was just so overwhelming.”


She sent in a video as part of the recruitment process, and it was one the coach liked.

“He wanted to sign me, but he wanted to make sure I was a good fit for the tea and the team was a good fit for me,” said McKay.

That led to some fundraising and gathering community support, through best friend Kassidy Manning who put it out to the community about McKay’s opportunity and the community stepped up.

“I was absolutely amazed at the support because the grand in the hand fundraiser was started and done within a week,” she said. “It was super cool to see all the support in the community.”

McKay said she had a practice with he team, then went to a breakfast with Bland and had her questions about priorities, what they expect, and scholarship info, plus all the basics.

“I talked to mom a little bit, then after that I signed with the team,” said McKay, who will be studying Kinesiology or Applied Sports Science, as she described it.

Goalie Callie McKay with AC head coach Matt Bland. (Submitted photo)


She said when she signed they livestreamed it so family and friends back home in East Hants could watch it.

Of course, she said, they had to stop in at the athletic store to get some swag for friends and family back home to wear and show their support for the team and her for when she hits the ice with the team next September.

McKay said Grand Rapids size is one thing that drew her to Aquinas College.

“It reminds me a lot of East Hants,” said McKay during the interview at an Elmsdale coffee shop. “That’s one reason I picked it.

“Yes, it’s far away, but it reminds me a lot of here in the sense that it’s a close community, and everyone was saying good, positive stuff about it as we were out in Grand Rapids.”

McKay, who trained with Finn Goalie, was 4-1 with a 1.00 Goals Against Average with the Lady Tigers this season in Metro High School hockey league play, during which there were games she played out at forward with HERH.

There were no stats available for the Red Wings, however McKay and her teammates there won the Red Wings won the Quebec Cup.


Callie McKay and a soon to be Saints teammate. (Submitted photo)

She talked about the reaction from her friends about signing, especially one friend, Kassidy Manning.

“The Manning family, and Kassidy immensely, have helped me out a lot in this journey to get to Aquinas College,” she said. “Kim and Kassidy have done a lot. They go to my games, they’re always there.

“Me and Kassidy have been through a lot together, so we have a great bond.

“I feel okay in leaving her to go to Aquinas College because I know it’s only a short time.”

“My other friends and family have been really supportive too.”


Before concluding her interview, McKay wanted to give a huge thank you to her mom,.

“She has done a lot for me. My brother played hockey and my sister volleyball, so mom did this as a single mom,” said McKay.

“She’s been my ear as I spent many nights up talking hockey with her, and all the ups and downs going from boys to girls hockey.

“She’s my support system.”

“I would not be going to Aquinas College without her.”