Women's Pro Hockey Seattle's Youth Spokesperson, Maealie Glanzer, was selected as the Seattle Sports Commission’s (SCC) Wayne Gittinger Inspirational Youth Award recipient for the 87th Annual Sports Star of Year Award gala on May 26 at The Westin in Seattle, from 5:30pm – 9:30pm.
This award honors a young, Washingtonian athlete who has overcome significant obstacles to continue to play the sport they love and inspired others.
Maealie was born in the small African town of Jinja, Uganda. She was adopted at the age of two and moved to Washington State with her forever parents, Brandon and Carrie Glanzer. Maealie has three siblings, Kaatri, Brynn, and Daphne.
Maealie has struggled with her speech since coming to America. She has struggled to be understood and works with a speech therapist regularly. Then, at the age of five Maealie stepped on the ice for the first time and started a local “Learn to Skate” hockey program in Bellingham, WA. After that experience, she never wanted to get off the ice and her confidence began to build, helping her overcome not only speaking clearly, but other challenges that came along the way.
Maealie joined a boy’s hockey team for the Whatcom Warriors and was one of the only girls in a male dominated sport. As her love for the game evolved, so did her conviction that she could overcome anything. Playing with the boys became normal, and she didn’t listen to those who said she shouldn’t or can’t – because she was a girl, or a woman of color, or her small stature.
Maealie has faced much adversity – from speaking confidently, being treated equally in boy’s hockey, and the various negative voices that have been trying to limit her as a person; however, hockey has given her the confidence to persevere through, to follow her passion of playing the game, and to set big goals and dreams for the future. She has her sights set to play college hockey, to play for her country, and maybe one day play for a women’s professional hockey team in Seattle.
Because of Maealie’s passion for the game and the goals she has set, the Women’s Pro Hockey Seattle campaign asked her to be the Youth Spokesperson – a major victory in her quest to communicate clearly. She also was the first young woman in Washington state to receive a Black Girl Hockey Club scholarship. In both situations she is asked to speak publicly, which she works hard to be successful as she knows that with each new skill acquired, much like hockey, one must practice hard for continued success.
Maealie Glanzer has dedicated herself for the love of the game and to grow the game. On the ice Maealie has learned to communicate with her peers through sport, skate through the negative comments, and to refine and master her craft of ice hockey. Off the ice she has persevered to face things that challenge her head-on, not shying away.
Her voice and presence are strong and loud, and she has chosen to rise above those that attempt to limit her. She is a force to be reckoned with and her future on and off the ice is bright.
ABOUT THE SSC SPORTS STAR EVENT
Created by legendary sports editor, Royal Brougham, and the Seattle Post-Intelligencer in 1936, the Sports Star of the Year Awards Show (SSY) has celebrated the achievements of Washington sports for nine decades.
The even featured a pre-show reception and live awards show, SSY has historically filled the ballrooms of Seattle’s finest hotels and theaters. Showcasing the athletes, coaches, and community members behind the most memorable sports stories, SSY is Washington's biggest night out for sports. Previous Sports Star winners and special guests include Sue Bird, Gary Payton, Steve Largent, Doris Brown Heritage, Ken Griffey Jr., Apolo Ohno, Paul G. Allen, Kelsey Plum, Keith Jackson and more.
This in-person, red-carpet gala and awards show was televised on the local FOX and FOX 13+ channels following the live event. Read more about the event.
Maealie's acceptance speech
Photos from the event