Alex Spence is calling her experience at the Canada Winter Games surreal, after winning gold with Alberta’s U18 girl’s hockey team.

“It was an unreal experience to be a part of, and I was super proud to be part of the Team Alberta culture there,” says Spence.

The 16-year-old on defence wasn’t expecting to get a gold medal. The team lost their first round-robin game against B.C., won a shootout against Nova Scotia and lost their third game against Ontario. Placing third in their pool leaving the round-robin, they soon caught wind on a number of wins, including revenge on B.C., taking them to a final against Quebec.

When facing Quebec, they were considered the underdogs. Some called their win against B.C. in the semifinals an upset, but they proved theirĀ skill defeating Quebec 2-1. Spence says that winning a gold medal made her proud of the coaches and team, but also a pride in herself for earning first place.

“I think the experience made the win a lot better because we knew that we earned it, and we knew the entire process was worth it when we won gold.”

Throughout the experience, Spence says she learned a lot about herself, her body and recovery. She also learned that she was part of something bigger than just hockey. She met and interacted with athletes from all over Canada, and got to support other Alberta athletes watching uncommon sports like squash and judo.

Spence found the experience amazing, ANDĀ  and is looking forward to the chance to play for Team Alberta’s U18 nationals. She’s confident she’ll be invited to the spring training camp and will be in the process of making the team.