A highly skilled and dependable member of the Minnesota Golden Gophers defensive unit, family stands as the corner of Madeline Wethington’s brilliant career. Belonging to the Brodt family tree, Wethington headlines a new generation of talent, maintaining their celebrated standing in the State of Hockey.
Raised in Edina, Minnesota, earning six letters in hockey and golf at The Blake School, Wethington enjoyed three state championships (2014, 2016, 2017), complemented by an impressive four All-State selections. Earning Minnesota’s Ms. Hockey Award in 2019, it allowed an opportunity to connect to her roots. Her aunt, Winny Brodt Brown, made history as the first recipient in 1996, skating for Roseville.
Worth noting, Wethington’s mother, Kerry Brodt, also holds an exemplary athletic resume. The first All-America recipient in women’s golf for the St. Cloud State Huskies, also serving as team captain, she gained induction into the Huskies Athletic Hall of Fame in 2019. In addition to golf, her legacy at St. Cloud included serving as the school’s first women’s ice hockey coach in 1998. Earning the 2001 WCHA Coach of the Year Award, she led the team to a solid 17-16-2 record.
An uncle, Vic Brodt, also played for St. Cloud, skating for iconic coach Herb Brooks, while her cousin Hanna earned WCHA Scholar Athlete honors as a Husky in 2014 and 2015. Adding a strong sense of family pride, Wethington’s mom and her aunt Winny joined other members of the esteemed hockey clan in 2017 with a place in the Herb Brooks Foundation Youth Hockey Hall of Fame.
Making her own mark, Wethington followed up the Ms. Hockey Award with an exceptional freshman campaign in Golden Gophers colors. On a talented roster which also featured the 2017 and 2018 recipients of the Ms. Hockey Award, Grace Zumwinkle and Taylor Heise, she made an immediate impression, recording her first NCAA goal in her debut, versus the Colgate Raiders on September 27, 2019. Finishing the season with a respectable 16 points, appearing in 36 games while amassing an impressive 40 blocked shots. Recognized as the WCHA Preseason Top Rookie, she lived up to expectations, finishing the season as a member of the All-USCHO and All-WCHA Rookie Teams, earning the conference Rookie of the Year Award, respectively.
“Winning both awards was an absolute honor and privilege. Minnesota high school hockey is one of a kind and being able to win it when there are so many amazing players was amazing. It was even more special because my aunt and Godmother, Winny Brodt Brown, was the first winner. I won the award during the 25th year of high school hockey in the state and it was a great reminder to never take the sport for granted.
My mom never had the opportunity to play girls high school hockey because they did not have it at that time. She grew up playing hockey and continued coaching as the first Division 1 Head Coach at St Cloud State. Winning the WCHA Rookie of the Year was a tremendous honor as well. I feel fortunate to play in the best conference in the country and to compete with and against some of the best players in the world!”
Adding to the theme of family in Wethington’s hockey odyssey has involved the treasured opportunity to call her younger sister Audrey as teammates on the Golden Gophers. Having also played together at the Blake School, Audrey, who plays at the forward position, also showed proficiency in golf. Akin to Madeline, she also wore the Stars and Stripes for the US at the IIHF Under-18 Women’s Worlds.
In true storybook fashion, Madeline earned the assist on Audrey’s first NCAA goal, finding the back of the net on December 11, 2020, a 2-1 final versus the Minnesota State Mavericks. Statistically, the two would occasionally intersect, resulting in memorable highlights. Of note, January 29, 2022 marked an unforgettable day in their shared journey as Golden Gophers. A 5-3 win versus the Ohio State Buckeyes saw both sisters place their names on the scoresheet.
Just six days later, a 7-0 triumph against Bemidji State at Ridder Arena provided another highlight. A second period goal by Audrey, saw Madeline and Emily Brown collaborate with assists. Worth noting, the 2021-22 season saw both sensational sisters earn recognition as WCHA Scholar-Athletes, WCHA All-Academic Team, and Academic All-Big Ten members.
“It has been an absolute dream come true to get the chance to play with Audrey. We have grown up playing with each other. To be able to continue to do that is very special and one that we do not take for granted.
She is my very best friend. We do almost everything together. We shared a room growing up and now share an apartment together. We have a lot of the same classes as well so we are around each other all the time. We would not want it any other way!”
Over the last three seasons, Wethington has not missed a game, establishing herself as an iron woman. Enjoying All-WCHA Third Team and Academic All-Big Ten honors in her sophomore and junior seasons, both seasons saw Wethington lead the Golden Gophers in plus/minus rating. Worth noting, her rating of +44 ranked her second in the NCAA in 2021-22.
Following the 21-22 season, Wethington earned the opportunity to wear the USA Hockey jersey once again. Having graced the ice at three IIHF Under-18 Women’s World Championships, all gold medal outcomes, August 2022 saw Wethington among the members of the U.S. Collegiate Women’s Select Team. Opposing Canada in the Collegiate Series, hosted in Calgary, Alberta, the Canadian contingent featured several WCHA rivals. Among them included Ohio State’s Jennifer Gardiner and Raygan Kirk, plus Wisconsin Badgers skaters Sophie Shirley, Maddi Wheeler and Sarah Wozniewicz,
Despite losing the first game in a shootout, the US bounced back to win their next two, capturing the Collegiate Series by a 2-1 mark. In the August 18 win, a 4-1 final, Wethington enjoyed her only point of said Series. Collaborating with Jamie Nelson, a WCHA Scholar Athlete for the MSU-Mankato Mavericks, both earned assists on the game’s final goal, scored by Penn State captain Kiara Zanon. Worth noting, the 23-24 season shall see Zanon in the paraphernalia of Ohio State.
Taking into account that 23-24 signifies Wethington’s fifth season in Golden Gophers paraphernalia, she experienced numerous milestones in 22-23, providing a strong feeling of momentum. From the outset, one of the most notable occurred off the ice, as the highly cerebral blueliner earned a Bachelor of Science in Cellular and Organismal Physiology. With aspirations to attend medical school after her Golden Gophers career, spring of 2023 resulted in a highly assiduous preparation. From research at the University’s Visible Heart laboratory, which sees efforts in 3D Modeling, Cardiac and Skeletal Muscle, among other ranges of study, Wethington also volunteered at the Masonic Children’s Hospital, a non-profit pediatric acute care facility.
On the ice, Wethington enjoyed a tremendous 26 point campaign, highlighted by 20 assists. Starting the season with a brilliant three-assist performance on October 7, 2022 versus the Bemidji State Beavers, it set the tone for Wethington’s standing as an impact player. Whenever she logged at least one point during the 22-23 season, the Golden Gophers enjoyed a 17-3-1 record.
Assembling a superlative 10-game scoring streak, spanning from December 3 to January 27, the Golden Gophers went undefeated, as Wethington logged 11 assists. Coincidentally, her only multi-point effort during the streak took place against Bemidji State, as the Golden Gophers prevailed in a convincing 7-0 final. Serendipitously, the second period saw Madeline and Audrey earn the assists on a goal by Grace Zumwinkle.
Rising to the occasion in the postseason, Wethington enjoyed some of the greatest goals of her careers. The semifinals of the WCHA Final Faceoff versus the eternal rivals Wisconsin Badgers on March 3 saw Wethington bulge the twine at the 6:13 mark of the second period, providing the Golden Gophers with their second lead of the game. Although the Badgers bounced back to tie the score, Wethington and her fellow blueliners shut down their opposing offense in the third, prevailing in a 4-2 final, advancing to the Finals.
Defeating the defending NCAA champion Ohio State Buckeyes by a 3-1 mark in the WCHA Finals, qualifying for their 20th appearance in the NCAA Tournament. While Wethington’s run with the Golden Gophers included appearances in the 2020 and 2022 tourneys, the Frozen Four had previously eluded her. With a quarterfinal match versus the host Minnesota Duluth-Bulldogs, also a WCHA archrival, she helped her own cause with the game-winning goal in the second period, her first of the season. Also adding their names to the scoresheet were Abbey Murphy and Catie Skaja in a 3-0 final, resulting in the Golden Gophers 30th win of the season. Worth noting, Skylar Vetter enjoyed her seventh shutout of the season.
Reaching the Frozen Four, the Golden Gophers first appearance since 2019, there was a unique tinge of coincidence as the program faced off versus another WCHA rival. In a rematch of the Final Faceoff semifinals, Wisconsin provided the opposition. With the Badgers scoring twice in the third, enjoying a 2-1 lead, the Golden Gophers managed to force overtime. With only 71 seconds remaining, Wethington found the back of the net in her Frozen Four debut, as Heise and Nelli Laitinen earned the assists. Maintaining the hot hand, she had scored four times in her last six games. Despite Caroline Harvey scoring for Wisconsin in a hard-fought overtime, the lessons learned ignited the belief for Wethington that the Golden Gophers can reach the ultimate pinnacle in NCAA hockey.
Returning for a fifth season, the momentum of the Frozen Four is poised to fuel the drive for her finest season. With tremendous maturity, Wethington finds value in all experiences, always looking forward with the goal of growth. Reflecting on the postseason run with a philosophical approach, the journey proved just as compelling as the arrival. A tremendous asset for the Golden Gophers, the season to come is one geared towards more than an opportunity to capture an elusive championship. Equally important, the opportunity to enjoy the privilege of wearing the program’s colors provides celebration, accentuating her appreciation of belonging to such a great group.
“Obviously the end result was not something we hoped for but that is life sometimes. Being able to make it to the Frozen Four was something that our group had aspired to get to, especially after losing in the quarterfinals the previous year.
Each year we get to learn so many new life lessons and ones that we can take with us as we move forward and look ahead. It was a great feeling to tie the score with a little over a minute left in the game. Our team displayed a lot of fight and a “never give up” mentality. Unfortunately, we could not find a way to put one away in OT which was obviously heartbreaking. All the teams at that point are so good and very evenly matched that it could have been any given team on any given day to win that national championship.
It says a lot about the WCHA and the strength of the league when you have three different teams winning the regular season, conference tournament, and national championship. I love my team and getting the chance to play for my home state. I am very grateful for the opportunity to wear the M. I am looking forward to one final year of chasing the national championship and playing alongside some of my best friends.”
“All quotes obtained first hand unless otherwise indicated”