Bronte Burkart: A Force On and Off the Ice

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May 2024

Zionsville Monthly is proud to feature women’s hockey phenomenon Bronte Burkart on our latest cover. Burkart’s extraordinary talent on the ice and her inspiring journey off it makes her a true force to be reckoned with. As a rising star in the world of women’s hockey and currently ranked third in North America, having scored 70 total points this past season, Burkart exemplifies dedication, skill and resilience. We are thrilled to share her story with our readers.

Blazing the Ice for Female Hockey Players

Burkart hails from Michigan and grew up playing for local youth hockey teams when it was uncommon for girls to participate in the sport. Despite the challenges of her gender and the lack of proper locker facilities, Burkart consistently demonstrated her skills and passion for hockey.

Over the years, she earned the respect of her coaches and teammates, proving herself a formidable player on the ice. Burkart moved to Indiana when she was nine years old, and expanded her hockey acumen throughout her youth and high school athletic career playing for great coaches and teams such as Indiana Youth Hockey Association (IYHA), Indiana Elite 14U, Indy Fusion U16/U19, Zionsville Hockey Club and Culver Military Academy.

Zionsville Hockey Club Head Coach Ben Highsmith praised Burkart’s skills and contributions as a female member of the club. During her freshman year, the club was the 3A state runner-up. Although Burkart is no longer with the club, they won the 4A State Championship this year, showing their growth and increasing popularity. Highsmith credits Burkart with contributing to the club’s reputation and paving the way for future female hockey players.

Bronte Burkart
Pictured: (back center) Bronte Burkart along with her Zionsville Hockey Club teammates.

“Bronte’s a great player and a great kid,” Highsmith said. “Tactically, as a player on the ice, she’s always been ahead of the curve as far as her understanding of the game. Her hockey IQ is really high. She’s a student of the game, and that, along with her love of the game, are her biggest attributes. Ranked with the boys, she was one of the better shots on the team. She’s always team first and wants what’s best for the team.”

Highsmith added, “I think Bronte really paved the way for other future female athletes who understand that there is a path and it can be done. We’ve had three females on the team since Bronte and have experienced really great success with them. Bronte cared not just about this team and about making a name for herself; she cared about bettering the program she was coming from.”

Working Towards a Lifelong Dream

Burkart, the youngest of four children, knew from a young age that she wanted to play hockey and aim for the highest level, dreaming of making it to the Olympics one day. Upon moving to Indiana, Burkart and her parents sought out the best and highest-level youth hockey teams. She played for the Indianapolis Racers U12 and was the only girl on the team.

“It’s funny because I have a lot of memories where I would go to the concessions and be like, ‘Do you have a girls’ locker room?’ and they’d say no, but they gave me a chair in a bathroom,” Burkart recalled. “We have pictures of me getting ready next to a toilet because there were no girls’ locker rooms.”

Bronte Burkart

Making the most of the opportunities and rising above any logistical challenges, Burkart shared how playing on predominantly all-boys teams invigorated her competitive side and challenged her to bring her best when on the ice, playing against the boys.

Burkart added, “I had the mindset that it was just making me better, and I wanted to make the best of it. I was super blessed in that I had early coaches who were proud of me and took me under their wings. It would’ve been harder if I had felt like my coaches didn’t believe in me because I am a girl and didn’t want me on their teams. I was blessed in that sense because I had a lot of support.”

Burkart knew she wanted to play forward when she was quite young, as she loves being in the center of the offensive action.

“Defense never really intrigued me,” Burkart said. “I would say that I’ve developed my shot and my hockey IQ a lot over the past few years. Hockey is such a dynamic sport. You’re on the ice, you’re stick handling, you’re blocking shots … there’s just so much going on, and I love being a forward because I’m always in all that craziness. Playing at Culver Academy, where I played on the girls’ team, I learned that I could slow it down and take more time with the puck. Now, playing in Michigan [for Belle Tire Girls 19U AAA], I’m not afraid of any girl because I played with boys, and I’m confident that I can possess the puck and have my head up.”

Burkart continued, “From the moment I started playing, I’ve wanted to be in the Olympics. It’s been ‘go big or stay home.’ Every team was the next step and the next level. This past year, I decided to make the switch from Culver to Michigan, and it was a hard decision because Culver’s facilities are amazing. I had to make the best decision for myself and in furthering my hockey career. I knew Belle Tire was able to give me that opportunity and phenomenal coaches who see the best in me and pull that out. My goals have always been to make it to the Olympics and to go pro, and the best next step for me has been to go to Michigan and play for Belle Tire.”

Bronte Burkart

Having played for one of the top five teams in the country and being named third in North America after scoring 70 points this past season, Burkart is determined to continue making 300 pucks a day and daily uphill sprints. Most of all, she’ll continue pushing herself while preparing for a post-grad year with her current team, playing with and against the best of the best.

“I’m going to continue pushing myself in an even harder environment,” Burkart stated. “I’m grateful that God put me in a place where my light is seen, and I’m eternally grateful for the experiences I had this year. I’m really excited for this next year, and for the opportunities to get stronger and faster and to focus on my weaknesses and strengths.”

Burkart expressed her gratitude for the unwavering support of her family, who reside in Zionsville, and her supporters.

“No matter if I play the best or worst game ever, my parents still love me and are proud of me,” Burkart shared. “If I win or lose, I’m no less of a person. I’m extremely blessed with the people that surround me.”

Per Elite Prospects’ Stats: 2023-24

Bronte Burkart (19)

#21 Belle Tire 19U AAA

65 GP, 43 G, A 27, TP 70