MARK COUCH, SPORTS CORRESPONDENT
Three years ago, Emily Chandler ’16 and Myranda Hayes ’16 were just two freshmen lacing up their skates for their first season of college hockey. Now Chandler and Hayes make up two thirds of the seniors on the Green Knights women’s hockey team, along with Lauren Roethlisberger ’16. This year’s team is made up of 12 sophomores, six first-years, three juniors, and these three seniors.
The women’s hockey team is St. Norbert’s newest sports team, playing its inaugural season in 2010. Since then, the Green Knights have won the NCHA Slaats Cup and have made an appearance in the NCAA Division III Tournament. The team has gone through a drastic change since its first season. In 2010, 18 of the 24 women on the roster were upperclassmen. Fast-forward to 2015, and there are only six upperclassmen.
Chandler said that she is “very lucky to have been a part of the large upperclassmen group and the large underclassmen group. Hayes and I really have to be on top of it, because the underclassmen are looking up to us. It’s helped me grow as a leader.”
Senior leadership is crucial for all college sports teams. The lack of seniors on the team this year might seem alarming at first, but Chandler sees the positive of having so many underclassmen.
“They bring constant energy to the team,” she said.
The three seniors have gotten very close over their first three seasons of playing together.
Hayes commented, “We’ve grown really close and have grown to trust each other and our commitments to the team. We all bring something different to the table.”
As they’ve begun their final season skating for the Green Knights, they’ve reflected on their favorite highlights and biggest challenges of their St. Norbert careers. Both women said the highlight of their career came during their freshman season when the Green Knights won the Slaats Cup and went on to play in the NCAA’s Final Eight Round in Plattsburgh, New York.
“This is forever an engrained memory of mine,” said Chandler. “We scored two goals in under a minute and a half, and then followed with an overtime goal to win.”
Hayes stated that the biggest challenge of her career was “coming into a team of mostly freshmen after playing with mostly seniors the year before.” She claimed it made her “really grow as a person and leader.”
After this season, the women’s hockey program at St. Norbert will be left to the younger, less experienced players, but Chandler and Hayes agreed that the future is bright.
“We have such a strong team culture and a lot of passion in the locker room. I think the program will only get stronger,” Hayes commented.
Chandler echoed a similar sentiment, “With all the hard work and talent with this group of players and coaches, I see many successes in the near future.”
When asked what goal they want to achieve before their St. Norbert careers are over, they answered the same thing: “I want to win a National Championship!”
With another season’s worth of hard work, they may get a chance to achieve their goal.