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DC78-82
09-21-2012, 08:50 AM
It's "first official practice" eve. Time to fire up this year's enthusiasm. We have a lot of new faces, including Niagara transfer Jess Hitchock, who grew up watching her sister play at the Whitt, and a number of Rookies with solid high school hockey resumes.

Coach McCloskey has been introducing them on his blog, http://wildcatwomenshockey.com/ , where you can also see photos of the group in action, but I'll post them here to get us rolling.


The Minn-e-so-tah Connection
SEPTEMBER 5, 2012 BY COACH MAC

On the surface, it might seem a stretch to imagine that Canadians and Minnesotans have a lot in common. Different countries after all. Then again, listening to the first impressions of Jonna Curtis, Sara Carlson and Meghan Armstrong, I’d have to say it sounds pretty familiar.

For openers Minnesotan’s, like their Canadian sisters, are a bit surprised at being told they talk ‘funny’. That can be a bit confusing, especially when everyone around you sounds like they’re the ones with the ‘funny’ nasal accent? Adding to the confusion is the bizarre vocabulary of easterners. Some 40 years ago I recall being in the same spot when someone at Dartmouth asked me if I wanted a “soda”? A what? You mean a pop?

So you can imagine the humor and irony I felt listening to the latest additions to our women’s hockey program from the land of 10,000 lakes as they shared some initial thoughts, impressions, likes and dislikes before today’s workout. I should add that this is an impressive trio. Jonna Curtis, Sara Carlson and Megan Armstrong all were honored last year by being named finalists for Minnesota’s Ms. Hockey Award. All three lead their respective high school teams to the Minnesota state tournament while racking up record career point totals.

However I’ll leave their rather lengthy and impressive statistical bio’s to the sports info department. I was more interested in discovering the really good stuff. I asked all three a lot of off the cuff questions. I should preface their responses by sharing that while all uniquely different, they concurred on one thing. When asked what they missed most these first two weeks their unanimous responses were ‘family’. Clearly you can take the ‘girl’ out of Minnesota, but you can’t take Minnesota out of the ‘girl’.

Jonna Curtis can be quiet, at least initially. The Elk River standout took some prodding to open up. Peanut butter and apple was her late night snack of choice. She confessed that ‘shopping’ ranked high on her list of free time occupiers. Favorites include steak, chocolate ice cream…or chocolate anything for that matter. Probably the best tidbit that we dragged out of her was that she ‘really’ likes school… affectionately calling herself a “nerd”. Jonna has one younger sister and as well as an older sister and brother. Family, her dog and her bed were one, two, three on her list of most missed! Maybe this is a Minnesota thing, but when asked where she’d go if she could fly anywhere in the world….her answer: Antartica. Now only a true Minnesotan could pick the coldest and windiest continent on earth…

Sara Carlson has a great smile. But who’d of thunk that under that angelic smile lurked the heart of a hells angel?? Well not really… but she caught me off guard when I asked what she liked to do away from hockey and school; ride her motorcycle! Sara was likewise a high school star leading her Hutchinson High team to the Minnesota state tourney. The youngest of four girls, Sara’s favorite devilish food was an ice cream called ‘cheesecake fantasy’. That was a new one on me. Most missed: family of course. Sara also commented that she missed knowing her way around! I told her that wouldn’t take long. Asked what she was most proud of Sara answered: ‘coming to play for UNH Women’s Hockey Program’!!!!! Now that’s a girl with Wildcat in her blood! She’s a fighter too! Asked where she’d like to go if she could travel back to any time in history: the Roman Empire.

Megan Armstrong is superstitious. I mean ‘very’ superstitious. A standout blueliner for the Edina Hornets, Megan likewise lead her squad to the Minnesota state tourney. Yes not to worry Mom and Dad, family was the first item on the most missed list. Adding some extra emotion to missing home was learning of the loss of their 15 year old golden ‘Pooh Bear’ this week. I can’t put into words what or why pets mean so much to most of us, but they do. When asked about her favorite non hockey, non school activity Megan answered like a real Minnesotan: going fishing at the family summer lake cabin. I was a bit taken back when I offered her a free trip back in time to any era or event and she answered with: The Miracle on Ice! I guess for us old folks that doesn’t seem that long ago, but for I have to remind myself that these 3 weren’t born yet. Megan is the youngest of 3 children in her family, loves cookie dough ice cream, Zack Brown band and spoiler alert *************** collects bobble heads!!! Now that’s a collection I have to see!

DC78-82
09-21-2012, 08:53 AM
A look at our two Rookie netminders:

From Suomi to La Belle Province
SEPTEMBER 19, 2012 BY COACH MAC

With such an incredibly diverse group of freshmen this year it’s been challenging to figure out the best way to introduce them. If you wanted to simplify things I suppose you could simply do it by region or nationality. Usually geography seems the most logical choice.

But in this instance we’re talking ‘goaltenders‘ and when it comes to goaltenders I’m not sure geography makes much difference. It’s common knowledge that goalies march to the beat of a different drummer. So meet Vilma and MJ; two unique young women who have arrived at the same place despite starting out thousands of miles apart.

Spend a few minutes with either one of them and you quickly notice something uncommon amongst most freshmen that I’ve met: maturity. It’s not surprising though when you listen to each of their stories; both have travelled a rather interesting, if not unique path to arrive here in Durham.

To begin with there are some similarities. The education systems that helped shape and prepare both of these talented hockey players for college, are rigorous. Following grade eleven, MJ moved to Montreal where she spent two years at John Abbott college, one of four english speaking CEGEP (pre university) schools in Quebec. Studying hard and playing hockey for John Abbott while living on her own in a Montreal apartment was just the price to be paid if you wanted to further your education and continue playing the sport you love.

The Finnish education system likewise requires additional time preparing and qualifying for university. Vilma’s hometown of Hameeenlinna is situated about an hour northwest of Helsinki where she spent several years studying and living on her own prior to completing her matriculation exam in Finland. A clear thread of early independence runs through both Vilma’s and MJ’s backgrounds, and it shows.

Lest you think that either is experiencing culture shock here in the good ol’ US of A, think again. Vilma’s family spent two years living in California when she was just entering grade school. Imagine showing up at a California grade school ( or any grade school for that matter ) and not knowing a word of English!? That’s what I’d call ‘culture shock.’ MJ also spent time living in the USA. The daughter of lifelong Canadian diplomat she spent time living in Washington DC area.

Still, I had to ask. What surprised them the most since their arrival in Durham?? For Marie-Eve, first on the list is American’s inability to say her name: Merry Ev That’s not so hard..is it? Well suffice it’s already been chopped to MJ and she’s moving on. She’s still struggling to get her arms around the “no helmet” motorcycle laws here in the great “Live Free or Die” state. No one said anything about us being smart. Lastly, she’s not certain if it’s just a hoax but all those signs at local establishments saying “free refills” is enough to put any Canadians antenna on high alert. Come On!?!? That can’t be for real???? Only in America MJ.

Vilma on the other hand can’t get over how warm and friendly people are here in New Hampshire. That’s always interesting to hear because northern New England ‘Yankees‘ aren’t usually considered the warm and fuzzy type. Of course by contrast with our southern neighbors in Boston and NY City…well I’d say we’re downright Canadian Nice! Still you have to understand what passes for ‘friendly’ in Finland. An oft heard local joke notes that:

An introverted Finn looks at her shoes when talking to you,

An extroverted Finn looks at your shoes.

The biggest difference between school at home in Finland and here is the American educational system’s love affair with “homework“. If you’re wondering what I’m referencing, feel free to google “The Finland Phenomenon: Inside the World’s Most Surprising School System.” That’s a topic for another day, but it will certainly peak the interest of anyone who has wondered why our approach stateside seems so flawed. The Finnish approach may not be ‘culturally’ or ‘politically’ kosher with some Americans, but it’s hard to argue with their results.


The balancing act between academics, athletics and time management just seems natural with these two young athletes. MJ is currently enrolled in the Whittemore School of Business and Vilma intends on majoring in Zoology and Marine Biology.

Pretty heady stuff for a couple of young ladies that march to a beat all their own. Who would have guessed growing up four thousand miles apart that they’d be dancing together in of all places: Wildcat Country! Judging by their “home” colors though….it’s pretty easy to see why they love the “Blue & White!“

Stick Boy
09-21-2012, 06:57 PM
UNH needs to turn the corner this year and start to rise and find consistency. From all accounts out of Durham, the team has been working hard over the last few weeks and have found some unity led by the vets and youthful enthusiasm of the recruits. The coaching staff has lots of players to work with to find winning combinations. I think the team may surprise some this year and be right in the mix next year for sure!

vellnueve
09-22-2012, 03:01 PM
I doubt they'll finish 6th - I'm looking for a hard fall for BU and a top 4 finish for UNH.

OnMAA
09-22-2012, 10:00 PM
I doubt they'll finish 6th - I'm looking for a hard fall for BU and a top 4 finish for UNH.

I don't think BU will be falling anywhere. Barring injuries to key players, It will be BC and BU top two in HE when it is all said and done.

Stick Boy
09-23-2012, 05:39 AM
BC is going to be strong for sure. BU is not the powerhouse they were a couple years ago but are still very good. UNH is certainly expected to be an improved hockey team and they might be knocking on the door of the top four! As a fan it would be nice to see UNH return to the upper echelon given their history and the need for better overall competition in HE.

bceagles11
09-23-2012, 10:02 AM
Who wil be playing goalie for this season. i think that gilligan will be playing she is lights out when she is playing good. last year when they were playing boston college she was a stonewall. i dont know how good this vilma girl is but I think it should be gilligan all the way.

Bumbles
09-23-2012, 10:23 AM
I doubt they'll finish 6th - I'm looking for a hard fall for BU and a top 4 finish for UNH.

I can see UNH finishing in the top 4 but that's cause I think PC might have a hard fall, not BU. I don't see BU having a hard fall until next year when they lose pretty much every significant player on the team.

bceagles11
09-23-2012, 10:29 AM
I think that NU will have a hard fall, they dont have a stable goalie and there defense is a little weak

zoofer
09-23-2012, 02:43 PM
From what I see and hear, this year will be fun for the Wildcats. I think that the competition for ice time will only enhance the quality of play and keep everyone on their toes....sure it's hard to go from a roster of 16 to 30 in 2 years but for myself, I'd like for women to accept the fact that every team needs to have role players, and whether your a first liner or the captain on the penalty kill, every team needs strength and character thruout the roster and I believe that Coach Mac is looking to expand his farm team, for lack of a better phrase....the Wildcats will be a top 4 team in HE but I'd still rather play the underdog role and sneak up on all you guys....now if only the league would help promote the ladies game so these athletes get the crowds they deserve.....

bceagles11
09-23-2012, 02:45 PM
From what I see and hear, this year will be fun for the Wildcats. I think that the competition for ice time will only enhance the quality of play and keep everyone on their toes....sure it's hard to go from a roster of 16 to 30 in 2 years but for myself, I'd like for women to accept the fact that every team needs to have role players, and whether your a first liner or the captain on the penalty kill, every team needs strength and character thruout the roster and I believe that Coach Mac is looking to expand his farm team, for lack of a better phrase....the Wildcats will be a top 4 team in HE but I'd still rather play the underdog role and sneak up on all you guys....now if only the league would help promote the ladies game so these athletes get the crowds they deserve.....

The one question is who will be playing goalie for the wildcats this year will gilligan because she is a stone wall or is this vilma a good goalie

Stick Boy
09-23-2012, 03:21 PM
There is another from Quebec and she is expected to compete for a starting spot too! They have a tough three way battle and I think all three expect to play! As I noted before there is gonna be a dog fight, or should I say 'cat fight', at all positions in Durham this year due to numbers!

Fever
09-23-2012, 11:01 PM
Who wil be playing goalie for this season. i think that gilligan will be playing she is lights out when she is playing good. last year when they were playing boston college she was a stonewall. i dont know how good this vilma girl is but I think it should be gilligan all the way.

I have heard that Gilligan may not be eligible to play due to her marks, this is the reason for four goalies on the roster.

bceagles11
09-24-2012, 02:15 PM
I have heard that Gilligan may not be eligible to play due to her marks, this is the reason for four goalies on the roster.

really wells thats a shame well lucky they have other good goalies

DC78-82
09-24-2012, 02:58 PM
really wells thats a shame well lucky they have other good goalies

Don't believe everything you "hear".

Fever
09-24-2012, 03:20 PM
Don't believe everything you "hear".

I can tell you this... I wouldn't post something as such if it didn't come from a very very reliable source. Not attempting to start a rumor. Why else would they take on four goalies?

Hux
09-24-2012, 07:23 PM
I can tell you this... I wouldn't post something as such if it didn't come from a very very reliable source. Not attempting to start a rumor. Why else would they take on four goalies?

Miss Gilligan's academic standing is just fine.

bceagles11
09-24-2012, 07:57 PM
Miss Gilligan's academic standing is just fine.

so does that means she is playing because she is lights out when she is playing good

Hux
09-25-2012, 09:24 AM
so does that means she is playing because she is lights out when she is playing good

It means she got lights out in the classroom last semester.

bceagles11
09-25-2012, 02:43 PM
It means she got lights out in the classroom last semester.

really so is she going to be playing , also i heard rumors that shenae lundberg might being transfering to unh