Hosting the All-Star Game in the State of Hockey for the first time, the NWHL showed a tremendous gesture of class, paying homage to the longest running club team in the United States. With each squad at the All-Star Game featuring one member of the Minnesota Whitecaps, the chance for a pair of its competitors (Sadie Lundquist, Kate Schipper) to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the greats of the NWHL was a tremendous milestone in club lore.
Considering that the Whitecaps also featured five members of its roster (Hannah Brandt, Kendall Coyne, Jocelyne and Monique Lamoureux, Alex Rigsby) suiting up for the assembly of American-born talent in women’s ice hockey at the 2018 Winter Games, the prominence of the proud club has reached unprecedented heights. Helping contribute to this newest chapter in the Whitecaps mythos at the NWHL All-Star Game also involved charter member Winny Brodt-Brown as a head coach.
Lundquist, a native of Cloquet, Minnesota, suited up for the Bemidji State Beavers from 2009 to 2013, prior to joining the Whitecaps. Majoring in sports management and business marketing, Lundquist was the Beavers’ leading scorer in her junior season and garnered multiple WCHA Scholar Athlete and Academic All-WCHA honors.
Also a competitor in Red Bull Crashed Ice since 2013 (which features the logo of her grandparent’s restaurant, Gordie’s Hi-Hat on her jersey), including time spent in the Sales and Marketing Department for the Minnesota Wild organization, proving that careers for women in hockey exist beyond the ice, Lundquist’s versatility has resulted in an empowering career, demonstrating to young girls that hurtles can be overcome.
Worth noting, Lundquist was joined on the roster of Team Ott, named in recognition of captain Brittany Ott, who calls the Boston Pride her club team. Joined by fellow Minnesotans, including Isobel Cup champion forward Corinne Buie, originally from Edina, and goaltender Sydney Rossman, who honed her craft between the pipes in Excelsior.
Buie would log a goal in the 8-6 final for Team Ott, while Rossman was credited as the winning goaltender. Considering that the game was hosted in Saint Paul, the chance to share in this experience with fellow All-Stars from her home state served as a monumental milestone for a jubilant Lundquist, proud to be part of a pivotal moment in the evolution of the professioanal women's game in the State of Hoceky,
“Minnesota-born players take immense pride in The State of Hockey and that was felt this weekend. As much as the NWHL came into to showcase their talent, we wanted everyone to see how deeply the passion for hockey runs here in Minnesota. It was very exciting to see how much support those two had and obviously great to get a win with them as well!”
Recording an assist in a highly energizing game that shall stand as one of the most entertaining this season, Lundquist also enjoyed the chance to integrate into the NWHL All-Star experience by taking to the ice for its entertaining Skills Competition. Participating in the Breakaway Competition, Lundquist was joined by the likes of Courtney Burke and Jenny Ryan with Team Ott, while Team Leveille consisted of Kelly Babstock, Sam Faber and Megan Mangene.
“It was a huge honor and incredibly fun to partake in all the NWHL All-Star game festivities. Having a weekend routine around hockey definitely brought back the feeling and memories of my college hockey days. I got pretty lucky with my shootout moves so the Breakaway Competition was definitely a highlight for me!”
Adding to the sense of mutual respect and shared love of the game on this day involved a unique scenario. Considering that an essential compeonent for both the NWHL and the Whitecaps involves a commitment towards a positive fan experience, highlighted by autograph sessions (which also took place in the aftermath of the All-Star event), the chance to connect with fans took on greater perspective.
With an outdoor skate involving young players, the participating All-Stars donned their paraphernalia from Team Leveille and Team Ott, a melange of silver and powder blue jerseys gliding across the frozen perimeter, while young skaters who dream of the opportunity to emulate their fearless, frozen hockey idols emerged with a lifetime of memories.
Although these energetic youngsters were ecstatic at the chance to share in such an occasion, the result was one where All-Stars like Lundquist were just as joyous, proud to provide a combination of inspiration and encouragement, proving that the future of the game holds remarkable potential.
“The outdoor skate with the young players was picturesque--perfect, sunny outdoor skate in downtown St. Paul! Women's hockey is progressing right now and to see it firsthand through the excitement of all the young girls was awesome.”
The opportunity to be part of an integral chapter in NWHL history, while adding to the growing legend of the Whitecaps, represented a proud pinnacle for Lundquist, proving that the professional game can be viable in the State of Hockey, there was another aspect that enriched such a magical time.
Considering that the 2018 Winter Games also signifies the 20th anniversary of the first US gold medal in women’s hockey, Lundquist enjoyed another unique privilege. A member of the roster that captured gold at Nagano 1998, Tricia Dunn-Luoma served as the head coach for Team Ott.
As a side note, the chance for the NWHL to pay tribute to the anniversary of the gold medal winning team holds unique significance. In January 2018, a group of NWHL All-Stars dubbed “Team NWHL” took to the ice in a pair of exhibition games against the US national women’s team that competed in PyeongChang. Connecting both generations in such spectacular showcases, the chance for Lundquist to play for a pivotal pioneer such as Dunn-Luoma represented a revered occurrence that shall stand as one of the high spots in her career,
“Tricia and her daughter were amazing. Her personality is infectious and I think it's safe to say she was a great teammate and likable person in the locker room. The weekend came full circle having an Olympian coach, playing with present NWHL players, and seeing the future of women's hockey in the young girls.”
“All quotes obtained first hand unless otherwise indicated”
Photo credits: Kirsten Burton