Ashley Walden skates and scores in Frederick County and beyond


Courtesy of Christopher Strauss

Ashley Walden surveys the ice for her U19 Nova Ice Dogs team.

by Ethan Hart and Delaney Cabe

The typical Linganore student’s Friday night consists of screaming and cheering for our Lancer teams at and away from our campus as they regularly crush opposing schools. 

On the other hand, Ashley Walden’s typical Friday night usually consists of driving hours round-trip to hockey practice in Washington, D.C. or to a game where she scores goals and assists her team in blowing out opposing local hockey teams.

Although it does not receive as much media coverage, high school ice hockey is brimming with talent as much as any other sport in Frederick County. Walden is a junior at Linganore and plays for Linganore’s co-ed ice hockey team and the Girls U19 Nova Ice Dogs hockey team based in Northern Virginia. Walden plays multiple positions on both of her teams, but she can usually be found playing offense as a center. 

Small, compact, and quick, Walden has practically lived on the ice her whole life, and her ice hockey career can be rooted in her early beginnings as a figure skater. 

“People normally start with ice hockey. There are a select few people who start with figure skating, such as me. Once I had passed all of the skill tests and competitive circuits, there was not a lot for me to continue doing. I eventually got bored with it [figure skating],  and made the switch to ice hockey at 10 years old,” said Walden.

Her talent for the sport was realized very early in her hockey career. “Ashley adapted very well in her 10U team. Since she was a solid figure skater beforehand, all she had to figure out and develop was puck movement since there was no body contact at such a young age,” said Cheryl Church, who was one of Walden’s first coaches.

Because of the few students who sign up for ice hockey, local teams consist of male and female students from different high schools. The Linganore team also features students from Tuscarora and Thomas Johnson High Schools. 

Ashley Walden poses with members of the Linganore-Tuscarora-Thomas Johnson High School hockey team.

On a much larger scale, Walden is a key player for her double-A Girls U19 Nova Ice Dogs team, which consists of players all around the greater DMV area. Walden commutes to Washington, D.C. to practice with the team five days a week and competes year-round in tournaments up and down the East coast. Her team consistently dominates other clubs in tournaments, such as the popular Ponytail Tournament in Baltimore, which Walden and the Ice Dogs have won in multiple years. 

Before the Ice Dogs, Walden played for the Washington Pride, which is a triple-A club team that competes at the national and international levels. Walden frequently spent weekends driving to and from Canada to compete with the more competitive Canadian club teams and helped her team earn a spot in the USA Hockey Youth Nationals. 

Walden has earned universal praise for her play from her teammates. Kata Thomas, a member of the Ice Dogs, said, “Some of Ashley’s best attributes are her skating ability, quick shots and accurate passes, knowledge of the game, and having a positive and hype energy that keeps everyone going.” 

“Ashley leads as a center by starting a play and telling people where to go. She also supports the team by continuing plays and setting up her teammates,” said Rebecca Devore, who is another teammate of Walden on the Ice Dogs. 

Walden contributes a lot of her success to her background in figure skating. “I have a lot of background in figure skating, so that’s what makes my skating and edgework really good. Edgework is using the edge of your blades to maneuver your movement in the rink. This helps me move sharply with precision to achieve good positioning when I play.”

Besides the obvious time commitment to the ice hockey teams, Walden stays actively involved with her academics. She is involved in National Honor Society, Rho Kappa, Student Government Association, Key Club, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, National English Honor Society, and Future Farmers of America.  

Walden plans to continue her academic and athletic career at a Division 3 school where her passion for learning and hockey can be effectively managed. She is currently looking at schools such as Stevenson University and Kings College. 

Walden strongly encourages potential ice hockey players to give the sport a try. “You should definitely try it, even if you are scared. Go out there and have fun. One thing all hockey players love is the feeling of stepping on fresh ice with the cold air flowing through your system. It is a feeling of everything melting away in the moment, and it is like nothing else.”

If you are interested in trying ice hockey, many organizations and ice arenas provide a “starter kit” for children and adults who want to play. The benefit of these kits would be to not waste thousands of dollars on a sport they may end up not wanting to play. 

Catch Ashley Walden at her next game for Linganore-Thomas Johnson-Tuscarora High School’s ice hockey team against Urbana High School’s squad on Friday, December 20 at Skate Frederick. The match will start at 4:45 as Walden and her team looks to defeat Urbana for the second time this season.