Hockey is in the blood of Kayla Munro. The SFU goaltender has always been a rink rat, and at the hockey rink a few times a week. Mom Brandi played as a goalie and Dad Jim was a center. “I was 8 years old and decided I wanted to play as well” explains the North Vancouver native.
In the Beginning
Kayla’s grandpa and parents taught her to skate, so the “transition to being on a team, was not too bad” explains Munro, “I actually began my journey patrolling the blueline.” At 8 years old nobody wants to play goalie, and like most teams, Munro’s team rotated their players, so everybody had a turn between the pipes. Munro, however loved the feeling of the heavy old gear, and the rest is history. Munro played for the North Shore Avalanche Association, before making the move to Major Midget.
Munro idolized Hayley Wickenheiser growing up. “Wickenheiser was an amazing player, who also played softball, my second favourite sport” explains the Windsor Secondary Graduate. Munro reflects meeting Wickenheiser on numerous occasions, playing in her tournament in Vancouver and again in the Wickfest tourney in Calgary.
Munro remained a fixture with the North Shore Avalanche until Bantam. After that she transferred to the Fraser Valley Rush in the Female Midget AAA league. There Munro was coached by former Women’s National team member Delaney Collins, whom she learned a lot from.
During her rookie campaign, Munro tried out for and made the U-18 British Columbia team that competed in the 2019 Canada Winter games in Red Deer. She fondly recalls two big accomplishments from that event. Munro was the first goaltender, to beat heavily favored Ontario, twice in the same tournament. She also backstopped Team BC to their first medal in 28 years, walking away with bronze after upsetting Ontario.
Fraser Valley Rush General Manager, Alain Wozney is very complimentary of his former goaltender. “Kayla was not only an excellent goalie but worked tirelessly to improve her game. I was always impressed with her determination and competition level” Wozney explains. Despite being small in stature (Kayla) “always played big in the net.” Wozney describes Munro as a natural leader, who was well respected by her teammates and always had a team first mentality.
Brandy Munro describes Kayla as a “beautiful and strong woman inside and out.” She is a “hard worker in all aspects of her life and a great friend to friends, she is a wonderful daughter.”
Giving up the NCAA Dream
Success in minor hockey and ultimately her success at the Canada games helped cement Munro, an NCAA scholarship to Syracuse University. Munro enjoyed her time at Syracuse, “bonding quickly with the girls and coaches” she explains. Life all changed when the COVID pandemic hit, making the difficult decision to return home. She admits it was difficult giving up her childhood dream of playing NCAA Div 1 Women’s Ice Hockey. She admits she is “Happy and proud to be where I am at now with Simon Fraser University.”
Dad Jim agrees that if not for COVID, Munro probably would have stayed playing hockey in the U.S. The elder Munro adds, “I am happy she is home in BC, and she is very happy playing for SFU.”
Words of Advice
Kayla is a huge fan of growing the game. “The biggest word of advice I can give to young goaltenders is to never be satisfied with your play. You can be confident that you are a strong player, but never stop working physically, technically, and mentally. Always strive to outwork every other player on the ice, and work hard, even when nobody else is watching.”
Kayla Munro worked like a champion in making the SFU Men’s Hockey Team. Here is hoping the team, along with Kayla can bring another BCIHL title home to Burnaby Mountain.