skip navigation

2021 Elections - Candidate Statements

By Rapids Communications, 05/01/21, 9:30AM PDT



The following individuals have been nominated to the Steering Committee for elected positions. They met the deadline of nomination acceptance and submittal of a candidate statement.  Their statements are reproduced below unedited and in their entirety.

(in alphabetical order)

  • Aaron Olson - Chair
  • Rachel Spilde - Secretary
  • Registrar - No Candidates



I am writing to you to show my interest in running for Chair of the Bend Rapids Steering Committee. This letter will share my background, my values, my experience and how I feel I can further enhance the opportunities and outreach for the Bend Rapids in the Chair position.

I was born in Oregon, but growing up in Buffalo, NY is where my love for hockey blossomed. Skating on my neighbor’s backyard rink at age 7 on broken down skates from the 70’s had me hooked for life. Hockey became my passion and still remains strong to this day. Playing at top tier levels all the way through my college years taught me the need for tenacity, accountability and discipline; on and off the ice. Coaching, since I was 19, taught me patience, practicality and flexibility. Being a Hockey Director and a Level 4 USA Hockey Certified Coach has also opened my eyes to the need for leadership at all levels of an organization, from on the ice to behind the scenes. These are the values I bring to the table.

I have been a part of the Central Oregon hockey community ever since the Pavilion opened. I worked for BPRD for over 4 years building the hockey program from the ground up, most programs are still operating under the same processes with huge success today. My career has also taken me down the Coaching, Development and Leadership path, working with peers, employees and other leaders to drive towards their goals and seeing them achieve new levels of success. I have hockey to thank for that drive and baseline into my Leadership journey.

My wife and I are huge supporters of youth and adult sports in our community. While I focus on hockey and golf, she focuses on hockey (soon to be a Level 1 USA Hockey Certified Coach) and volleyball, coaching with BPRD and Club programs. We know what youth sports can do to shape the lives of all those involved. Teaching life skills that will stick with them forever. The Bend Rapids continue to show our community what hockey has to offer and we haven’t hit our glass ceiling yet.

Hockey continues to grow across the state and with the Seattle Kraken joining the NHL this fall we are bound for an influx of interest. We have a prime opportunity to build up our program around the numbers of players we already have at the 12U and below levels, as well as across the state with OSHA sponsored Tier teams of boys and girls.

The most important aspect of this role to me is to continue on the path we have set for ourselves; all the while continuing to grow our roots here in Central Oregon and stretch our branches across the rest of the Pacific Northwest. Over the last 6 years, the growth of this organization has been astounding and there is no reason to stop now. Solidifying our presence here at home by refining and living our mission statement, continuing to foster relationships with partners and stakeholders, and reaching towards the horizon on new ventures into statewide and local opportunities.

I will continue to dedicate myself to the growth of our organization in Oregon and the Pacific Northwest and strengthen the roots we have been developing at home for years. I am positive that my experience, values, and background make me a prime candidate for the Chair position on the Bend Rapids Steering Committee. I have a balanced approach of open communication, analytical skills, and level-headed leadership that will serve the organization well. Thank you for your time and consideration. My door is always open.



When we moved to Oregon three years ago from North Dakota, one of the highest-ranking priorities on our kids’ wish list was that they could keep playing hockey. We’re so grateful to have found the Rapids. This organization helped our kids transition into our new lives in Oregon and has helped them grow in their skills, confidence and friendships.

To our family and to a growing number of people like us, the Rapids are an important part of our lives here in Bend. I’m grateful to be in a position where I have the time and energy to give back to an organization that has meant a lot to us. I’m not a coach, I’m not an accountant, but where I can add value is in the secretary position – in support of the board as we look to continue to grow the Rapids and hockey in the Pacific Northwest. I am detail-oriented and driven to help make hockey a mainstay in Bend.

I have experience as the former secretary of an interstate industry regulatory group, I have time to commit to this and I have the incentive to see it through: My kids love hockey and we would love to see more opportunities here in Bend specifically and throughout the Northwest.

Speaking of my kids, they play at the 12U (Will) and 10U (Genny) levels with the Rapids. My husband, Tony, works for Knife River and I work for the Oregon Judicial Department. I have degrees in Biology and Botany from North Dakota State University, and worked for the state of North Dakota for 20 years before moving to Bend.

It has been great to watch our kids thrive in the Rapids program because of the wonderful coaches, supportive parents and welcoming players. I have enjoyed getting to know so many people in our local hockey community and welcome the opportunity to serve the Rapids as secretary in 2021-22.