Hometown: Deloraine, male.
Three Canadians currently in the NCAA will make their world championship debuts, including Ashton Bell.
“Ashton is a great player,” head coach Troy Ryan told TSN last month. “I had the privilege of training him at the U18 World Championship for Canada. She was previously a striker so she is in the process of moving from a striker to a D. With that you have to give the players time to adjust, and Ashton has done a great job of adjusting. She has a great presence, plays the game the right way, good body posture, good point shooting. It’s fun working with her right now.
As Ryan mentioned, Bell began her career as a forward, playing for the Westman Wildcats in the Manitoba Women’s Midget Hockey League (MFMHL) and was named the league’s MVP in 2015-16. and 2016-17. In the last season, she led the league with 31 goals and 49 points in 22 games.
Like many of her current teammates, Bell was a multisport athlete growing up, although her other primary hobby was a bit more unusual, as she competed in high school rodeos.
Bell has competed with the Manitoba High School Rodeo Association in events including barrel racing, pole bending, goat tying and lassoing, in which she has already qualified for national championships.
On the ice, she represented her home province on several occasions, including winning silver at the 2015 National Women’s Under-18 Championship. Bell also competed at the 2015 Canada Winter Games and was captain of Manitoba at the 2016 National Women’s Under-18 Championship.
Bell won a silver medal with the Canadian Under-18 team at the 2016 IIHF World Women’s Under-18 Championship, where she led the team with six points in five games and was named on the tournament all-star team.
The following year, she was named captain of the Canadian Under-18 team and led the team to another silver medal.
Bell joined the University of Minnesota-Duluth in 2017-18, registering 11 goals and 23 points in his rookie season, good for the team’s second scorer. In her sophomore year, she was named the WCHA Scholar Athlete and was also honored by the WCHA University Teaching Team.
But Bell’s breakthrough year came as a junior when she transferred to the blue line. She led all WCHA defenders with 32 points in 36 games and was named to the WCHA First Team All-Star.
Last season, Bell led the Bulldogs in their first NCAA Frozen Four appearance in over a decade. She won Team All-American honors and was seventh in the nation in defenseman scoring with 14 points in 19 games.
Bell also spent time with Canada’s Development Team, finishing fifth with the team at the 2018 Nations Cup. Earlier this year, she was named to the Canadian Olympic Centralizing roster.
“It’s great so far. The older girls were great in showing us the ropes and answering all of our questions, ”she said. “I really admired a lot of these girls growing up and watching them compete in the Olympics. Jocelyne Larocque and Renata Fast have been great with me, just helping me and, if I have any questions, just being open to answer them for me.