Everyone has recently traveled back to Duluth to begin our 2011-2012 season. The past two weeks have been filled with hard work and laughs as we have just completed our pre season fitness testing and are getting to know all the knew freshman. A few of our players are currently over seas playing for their national teams at the 8 Nations tournament in Finland. One really cool thing about UMD is that we attract players from all over the world. Watching the 2010 Vancouver Olympics was really special for UMD as we got to watch several Bulldogs compete for their respective countries. This past season I lived with Team Canada’s Haley Irwin and Jocelyne Larocque and it has been an amazing experience getting to know these young women. It is always very exciting picking them up form the airport after a camp or tournament and hearing all their great stories. Playing at UMD has given me the opportunity to play with some of the world’s best female hockey players from many different countries. Last season we had players from Sweden, Finland, Germany and Canada’s National Women’s teams. It is always very interesting to see how our team comes together with such different hockey backgrounds.
This is a very exciting season for UMD as we are hosting this years WCHA tournament as well as the 2012 Women’s Frozen Four. The last time UMD hosted a Frozen Four was in 2007, beating the Wisconsin Badgers 4-1, capturing our programs fourth National Championship. Coach Shannon Miller has very high expectations for this season, as she is yet to lose a National Championship at our home rink. This will be the first Frozen Four held in Duluth’s Brand new rink “The Amsoil.” It will be a tough season as we lost five Bulldogs that brought so much talent and heart to this program.
It was very sad to say goodbye to our former assistant Coach Maria Rooth who previously won three national Championships with the Bulldogs, but we are very happy to welcome our new assistant Coach Steve Macdonald.
Now that fitness testing is over we are really anxious to get on the ice and start skating as a team. Our first month back at UMD is like Christmas. We walk into our dressing room and our stalls are filled with new equipment, clothes and shoes. It is always fun seeing the expression on the freshman’s face’s when they receive all their brand new gear. We are so lucky to have such a great program and school that support women’s hockey that enable us to have such great equipment and facilities to play and practice in.
My past two seasons as a Bulldog have been an incredible learning experience and I’m hoping to give our new freshman the same experiences I’ve had. We’re all ready to start the season and cant wait for the puck to drop in our first series.