After two years of studying and playing hockey at Olds College in Alberta, Virden’s Tori Eilers is thrilled to be working in the agriculture sector in her hometown.
Eilers is a junior agronomist for Core Ag Inputs. As well, she is involved with her family’s commercial cattle operation.
“I have been enjoying the new job and was welcomed right away by Tyler (Strachan), Brad (Hunter), and the customers,” Eilers said. “It has been great being back in my hometown, getting to see my family more often and being involved in their lives more as well. I have always loved being a part of the cattle farm, so I am beyond thrilled to be home and committed to the farm now, along with the ability to apply some of the things I learned at Olds College to the farm. … Being back in my hometown has been refreshing in the sense of running into so many familiar faces again on my day-to-day activities like getting groceries or picking up the mail; it's nice to feel at home everywhere I go again.”
While Eilers went to Olds College partly to compete for the Broncos, she said what she enjoyed most about studying and playing at the school is that it is an agriculture-focused institution. Eilers said it was “an amazing experience to spend countless hours at the barns on campus, and head straight to the rink right after, still in my chore clothes.”
She studied agriculture management with a major in production. This allowed her to specialize in both the livestock and grain sectors of the industry. As well, Eilers obtained certification artificial insemination on cattle.
On the ice this past season, Eilers posted a 3.43 goalsagainst average and a .898 save percentage. In February, she entered a game against league leading MacEwan University in the second period with the Broncos trailing 3-0. Eilers turned away all 29 shots she faced in a 3-1 loss. In that game and other home contests, she was pleased to be backed by Olds fans.
“I love playing in a community that supports our team so much,” Eilers said. “It is no secret that our team gets the best amount of fans and support than any other team in the (Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference) league. A lot of this has to do with being in a smaller town, rather than a city. Regardless, it is nice to have a booming crowd cheering you on at home in the intense moments of a game.”
Eilers said that her second season at Olds College was different from her first in a couple ways. For one, she said her time management was better.
“Both semesters I have juggled being a student athlete, being enrolled in six classes, and working a part time job,” Eilers said during the season. “It keeps me busy, that's for sure, but having my first year under my belt I have learned a lot on time management. As well, I feel that our team is a lot more bonded this year and the relationships I have made with teammates are even stronger after a second season together.”
During her two seasons in Olds, Eilers developed her game. Olds College head coach Chris Leeming said, “Aside from the technical aspects of goaltending of which she has improved on, the real growth has been with Tori’s mental and emotional management, as well as her compete level. These are aspects of her game that have allowed her to be more consistent at this level of hockey.”
Besides her on-ice skills, the Broncos also appreciated Eilers as a person.
“After getting the opportunity to work with Tori the past two seasons, it’s important that people know how truly genuine of an individual she is, someone who cares deeply for her teammates and coaches,” Leeming said. “You can see this in her day-to-day interactions, which is something that has been essential to the development of our team culture during her time here.”
Eilers’ mother is Courtney Eilers. Her father is Brian Eilers and her stepmom is Laura Eilers.
“All three of my parents have still continued to be huge supporters of mine,” she said in reference to her hockey career. “Another huge supporter of mine is my Nan, Jean Carr. She is my best friend and calls me every day before a game as well. All four of these people have not missed one of my games since moving to Alberta, and have the game streaming every weekend. Because of my family backing me is the reason I have been able to enjoy being so many miles from home for two years now.”