CENTER ICE SPOTLIGHT: RAYLA WILKES | RALIEGH, NORTH CAROLINA
Updated: Jul 7, 2020
INTRODUCING Rayla Wilkes!
Rayla is 8 years old from the Raleigh area of North Carolina. She started playing hockey in 2017 with the Canes NHL First Goal program and fell in love with the game. She continued with local learn to play programs before joining the 8U house league. She really wants to be a Junior Hurricane when she's older. She took this past fall off but is looking forward to getting back on Spring League. Her talents in defense stand out but she also loves to also play goalie.
In 2018 she was invited to New Jersey by her favorite player Kelsey Koelzer to be the honorary Captain for the Metropolitan Riveters. Later that same month she was the Canes youth starter of the game and got to stand next to her favorite Canes player Sebastian Aho. It was a very exciting month for an almost 6 year old. That season the Riveters won The Isobel Cup and Kelsey invited Rayla to come to her party in PA and see the cup in person. She really loves hockey and wants to someday play professionally.
As a HPOC ambassador Rayla is looking forward to bringing attention to young players of color especially girls.
She wants other girls to fall in love with hockey like she did. She is very outgoing and loves talking to people so this will be fun for her.
Rayla is super silly and enjoys making people laugh and anyone that comes around her instantly falls for her charm. Not only does she love hockey but she also loves gymnastics, karate and her sisters. She is a big fan of hard rock music specifically Tool and Metallica and she likes to dancing to popular hits. And a lot of people do not know that she is Jewish.
Rayla would like to have dinner with Blake Bolden because she only met her briefly and would like to know her better.
Rayla has had many professional female hockey players as mentors and roles models and has even been coached many times by Alyssa Gagliard, I who she also adores. She is so lucky to have met so many and to even call a few friends. . She's been given so many words of advice and guidance from some wonderful ladies. The advice that stand out the most is to work hard but take time off when needed, try other sports, make school a priority and most of all have fun in everything you do.
Her dream for women's hockey is that someday women will be paid a living wage so they can focus on only playing professionally if they want to and to have a women's team close to home and be able to watch it on TV like the boys.