Fortney parlays stellar season with 14ers to college hockey opportunity at Colorado State
Ashley Anderson will have company from the Colorado 14ers’ 19U team at Colorado State University next season.
On the heels of Anderson committing to CSU, Mackenzie Fortney joined her 14ers teammate in committing to the school late last month.
“Our director and coach Hannah Westbrook reached out to the CSU head coach to let him know I was interested, and we both took it from there,” Fortney said. “Coach (Troy) Watts attended one of my games and spoke with me after, verbally offering me a spot on the roster next year. I then discussed with my family and decided to proceed forward with that exciting opportunity close to home.
“Academically, CSU supports my professional goals to pursue studying psychology and I know I will be in a supportive, positive environment to do so. The hockey program at CSU is exceptional and perfect for me as a student-athlete. The coach’s specific feedback, enthusiasm, and ability to connect sealed my decision.”
A native of Soldotna, Ak., Fortney has had a stellar 2021-22 season with the 14ers.
“On a personal standpoint, this season has helped me advance my skills and speed as a hockey player, and as a person, this season has helped me navigate through certain hardships such as where my priorities lie and who will support with that,” Fortney said. “Through the difficulties of some losses throughout our season, we as a team have overcome so much and hopefully will continue to do so.
“Playing for the 14ers has helped me feel supported as a student-athlete from all standpoints. I can ask my coaches for advice, even those not directly coaching me, and I know I have the support I need.”
Fortney played for the Colorado Select last year, and as the transition began into the 14ers, she decided to give the organization her last high school year of hockey and her all.
“I first got hooked on hockey after I basically went through all the other sports,” said Fortney. “I had finally decided to play the sport my dad and brother love and I feel like I connected with it instantly.”
Aside from the 14ers and Select, Fortney has also played for the Arapahoe Warriors.
“I hope to be a role model and supporter for younger girls, showing them that this program will always be there to support their goals with next level hockey and life,” said Fortney.
Looking ahead, Fortney has her priorities straight.
“My short-term goals in hockey are to finish out this season strong and go to nationals,” said Fortney. “My long-term goals are to continue to advance and improve my skills and give every practice, every game my all.”
— Matt Mackinder
(March 8, 2022)