Payne Oltrop is getting a head start on her future hockey career. The grade 10 E.J. Lajeunesse student has committed to play for the University of Windsor women's hockey team. "I know that I have a place to go now and now I just have to work on my schooling."
On the surface the commitment seems early. Oltrop, who is a goalie for the Lakeshore Lightning U18AA travel team, won't be putting on a Lancers jersey until the 2025/2026 season. A lot can happen in two and a half years but that doesn't faze Deanna Iwanicka. "I think everybody feels it's early, but I think really that's the process in women's hockey." said the 4th year head coach. "There are certain players that you see or certain players that you meet and you just know and this is one of those ones where you just know."
Oltrop is a fan and attends Lancers games. Last season she was invited to practice with the team and left an impression. Oltrop also helped out as an instructor at a Lancers camp during the off-season.
"I know the coaches are very focused on developing players and I know they'll help me on and off the ice." said the 15-year-old who played at this year's Ontario Summer Games for Team White.
"She understands what we're trying to do, and she has a good sense of where we are going." said Iwanicka. "It's great to know we've made that kind of impression on her, and I love that she's already telling her friends she's gonna win a championship with the Lancers.