In like Flint: Tears of joy as St. Peter Saints’ Ava Flint earns Liberty University hockey scholarship

Ava Flint was surprised when tears started to flow as she opened up about her biggest hockey influence.

Her father Paul Flint always encouraged Ava to pursue her dreams and on Monday one of them came true. The St. Peter Secondary School student signed a letter of intent to play varsity hockey at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia.

A product of the Peterborough Girls Hockey Association’s Ice Kats program, Flint is in her third season in the Provincial Women’s Hockey League with the Central York Panthers in the U22 Elite Division. She is also the only girl left of the St. Peter Saints’ 2019-20 COSSA championship team to qualify for OFSAA before the pandemic canceled the 2020-2022 provincial high school girls’ hockey championships.

Her parents Paul and Michelle Flint have supported her every step of the way, but her father played a special role in coaching ice hockey through the Ice Kats system, either as a head coach or as an assistant coach.

“He always wants the best for me,” she said, fighting her emotions.

“He was always taking me to shots and stickhandles and was always pushing and encouraging me to get the best out of myself. He always told me to do what you can now so that when you get old you don’t regret not doing things you could have done. When he was younger he didn’t have the opportunity.”

The Liberty Flames are the four-time Division I champions of the American Collegiate Hockey Association, and she looks forward to joining them this fall.

“This allows me to continue my hockey journey and help me develop my skills as a hockey player and student,” said Flint, who plans to study pedagogy.

“That was my dream – to go to university and play hockey. That will allow me to do that, and hopefully after college and after my hockey trip at Liberty University, I can play in the women’s professional hockey league after that.”

She becomes the second Saints graduate in ACHA as one of Flint’s best friends, Avery Johnson, plays at Indiana Tech.

“We played hockey growing up with the Ice Kats and she was one of my best friends that whole time,” Flint said.

“Ava is a tenacious player who plays with all her heart,” said Saints head coach Mike Martone. “She is a courageous player who plays at the limit. She is an extremely hard worker and is dedicated to pursuing her dreams as a hockey player and college student.”

On 8th grade day, she set up a table for new students to learn more about the Saints’ girls hockey program.

“She’s very well respected as a peer supporter by staff and students across the school,” Martone said. “She is a student who volunteers to help with anything that comes up at school. She does things that go beyond the classroom.”

York Central boasts a 19-6-3 record this season in which they are joined by former Ice Kats teammates Avery Johnston and Cheyenne Degeer. She joined the league in search of higher-flight play, hoping it would expose her to college scouts. Her sister Rhaea Flint plays in the York Central U18 AA team.

“It’s for high-performance athletes,” Flint said. “My experience there was incredible. The coaching staff and the players on my team are great. They are all top athletes and have the same goals and work ethic as me. The majority of my team has also been involved at universities.”

Flint attended four US schools and found Liberty to be the best fit.

“I liked the atmosphere, the campus, the facilities, they were amazing,” she said. “The hockey team is very good and I met with the players and coaches and they were absolutely wonderful.”

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