LYNN — Every young athlete aspires to reach the professional level one day. More often than not, the tough reality is that most fall short of turning pro in their respective sports.
For Lynn native Katie Burt, however, her dream of becoming a professional hockey player became a reality last week.
The 21-year-old goaltender, who became the all-time leader in victories in NCAA history at Division I Boston College, signed a professional contract to play with the Boston Pride of the National Women’s Hockey League.
“As a kid you dream of it and it’s always something you always strive for,” Burt said. “I’m really excited. This is something I’ve been working for my whole life and for it to happen is a great opportunity.”
The path to becoming a professional started when she found her calling on the ice as a young skater in Lynn.
“I was probably 10 (years old) when I realized I wanted to be a goalie. I had always skated but playing goalie is something I fell in love with,” Burt said. “I have loved doing it and I still do to this day.”
Burt started her high school career with the Winthrop Bulldogs program (now known as the Vikings) before transferring to Buckingham Browne & Nichols School (BB&N) in Cambridge. At BB&N she quickly became not only one of the best goalies in the region, claiming first-team All-New England honors in 2012, but in the country.
She helped the U.S. Under-18 Women’s Hockey team win the silver medal at the 2014 IIHF U18 World Championships in Hungary, going 2-0-0 while recording a 0.50 goals against average and a .929 save percentage. The next year she helped the same team win gold after her freshman season at Boston College.
The hard work for Burt continued on and off the ice as she pursued a career in college. In the summer of 2014 she accelerated her senior year of high school in order to attend Boston College in the fall.
“That summer I took four classes and finished my senior year,” Burt said. “It was a lot of hard work and I had to make a lot of sacrifices that most high school students wouldn’t want to make.
“But I saw the light at the end of the tunnel and worked hard,” Burt added. “It was the best decision of my life.”
The decision paid off full-circle. At Boston College, Burt started for four years while posting three 30-win seasons and setting the NCAA wins record. She helped the Eagles win four Hockey East regular season titles, three Beanpots and two Hockey East tournaments.
By the end of her college career Burt was among the all-time leaders in every NCAA category, including being ranked No. 1 in career wins (121), No. 5 in career winning percentage (.863), No. 5 in career shutouts (35), tied for No. 9 in career goals against average (1.47), No. 12 in career saves (3,180) and tied for No. 13 in career save percentage (.937).
She set Boston College school records in wins (121), shutouts (35), goals against average (1.47) and save percentage (.937)
However, playing for the NWHL wasn’t always a goal that was possible.
“Every kid hopes and dreams of playing professionally but the NWHL didn’t exist until I was in college,” she said.
The Boston Pride have pursued Burt for a few years, selecting her with their first overall pick in the league’s 2017 draft. Last week, Burt decided to sign with the team for the 2018-19 season.
“I grew up watching and loving the Bruins so it’s great to be able to play professional hockey in my hometown,” she said. “It’s a dream come true.”