Future Gopher Baldwin Named 2014 Ms. Hockey

Let's Play Hockey newspaper announced that future Golden Gopher Sydney Baldwin, a senior defenseman on the Minnetonka High School girls' hockey team, was named the winner of the 19th annual Ms. Hockey Award today at the annual Ms. Hockey Awards Banquet. The award, presented to the top girls' high school hockey player in Minnesota, is based on the following criteria: academics, community/extracurricular activities, citizenship, coachability and, of course, on-ice performance.

The career leading scorer for defensemen at Minnetonka, Baldwin becomes the first blueliner to be named Ms. Hockey since South St. Paul's Ashley Albrecht in 2002. Averaging over 30 minutes per game this season, Baldwin owned totals of 12-19--31 and helped Minnetonka to an unprecedented three consecutive state championships during her career. She captained the Skippers to the No. 5 ranking in Class AA this season to go along with a 19-6-2 overall record.

Baldwin had points in 19 of her 27 games this season, including nine multi-point contests. She was a three-time all-conference and all-state honoree for the Skippers. Baldwin was also a member of the silver medal-winning U.S. Women's National Under-18 Team at the 2013 IIHF World U18 Championship and will represent Team USA again this March.

Baldwin is set to continue her hockey career with the Gophers and will join Minnesota for the 2014-15 season.

"Sydney Baldwin is like Bobby Orr," Minnetonka head coach Eric Johnson said. "She's the best defensive and offensive player on the ice and the most humble, team-first player off the ice. Syd is the best all-around skater we have ever seen at Minnetonka. She's smooth, fast and strong, while making it look effortless as she glides by opponents. Her puck-handling, passing and shot are even more impressive than her skating ability."

Away from hockey, Baldwin owns a 3.45 GPA and volunteers her time with the DinoMights Inner City Youth Hockey Program. She has also served as a Big Sister with Minnetonka youth hockey teams. In addition to hockey, Baldwin was a two-time member of the Skipper tennis team, captaining the squad to a second-place finish in the 2012 state tournament.

"Sydney is a giver," Johnson said. "She has volunteered over 100 hours in the Minnetonka Youth Hockey Association, attending youth girls' practices, games, study halls and pizza parties. She cares about the kids and about being a good role model. In addition to her academic and athletic commitments, she works four part-time jobs throughout the year. She understands that success is earned through hard work and expects nothing to be given to her."

Two other future Gophers were among the finalists for Ms. Hockey in Kelly Pannek of Benilde-St. Margaret's and Nina Rodgers of Hopkins. Sam Donovan of Irondale and Nicole Schammel of Red Wing rounded out the top five finalists.

Past winners include Dani Cameranesi of Blake (2013), Hannah Brandt of Hill-Murray (2012), Karley Sylvester of Warroad (2011), Bethany Brausen of Roseville (2010) Becky Kortum of Hopkins (2009), Sarah Erickson of Bemidji (2008), Katharine Chute of Blake (2007), Allie Thunstrom of North St. Paul (2006), Gigi Marvin of Warroad (2005), Erica McKenzie of Hastings (2004), Andrea Nichols of Hibbing/Chisholm (2003), Ashley Albrecht of South St. Paul (2002), Renee Curtin of Roseville (2001), Krissy Wendell of Park Center (2000), Ronda Curtin of Roseville (1999), Laura Slominski of Burnsville (1998), Annamarie Holmes of Apple Valley (1997) and Winny Brodt of Roseville (1996).

The 19th annual award, selected based on votes from a panel of high school coaches and Division I and III college coaches from Minnesota and Wisconsin, is sponsored by Let's Play Hockey, the Minnesota Wild and Shakopee Chevrolet.

Read more:
Let's Play Hockey: Sydney Baldwin of Minnetonka named Ms. Hockey

Gophers in the News: Olympics Recap, UMD Preview

Catch up on the Gophers in the news heading into this weekend's regular-season finale against Minnesota Duluth.

Minnesota Daily: Gophers seniors reflect in final season
Feb. 20, 2014

Take one last look at some of the notable Olympic coverage:

Star Tribune: Sudden ending for U.S. stuns Gophers women's hockey team
Feb. 21, 2014

Star Tribune: Day after collapse, US women's hockey team resigned to remember, 'we didn't finish the job'
Feb. 21, 2014

Star Tribune: TFD: A mostly happy day ends on a sad note for Gophers women's hockey team
Feb. 20, 2014

USA Today: Canada women snatch gold from United States with big rally
Feb. 20, 2014

CBS News: U.S., Canadian women facing off for hockey gold
Feb. 20, 2014

St. Cloud Times: Friends, family cheer Schleper in gold medal game
Feb. 20, 2014

ESPN W: 5 Keys to USA-Canada Hockey
Feb. 20, 2014

ESPN W: Women's Hockey Steadily Rises
Feb. 19, 2014

Bleacher Report: US vs. Canada Women's Hockey: A Rivalry the Olympics Needs to Keep
Feb. 19, 2014

KARE 11: U.S. women's hockey advances with Minn. Angle
Feb. 19, 2014

Minnesota Daily: Column: It's time for pro women's hockey, ya feel me?
Feb. 18, 2014

Washington Post: Women's hockey final is the latest chapter in USA-Canada rivalry
Feb. 18, 2014

NESN: Team USA's Phil, Amanda Kessel Dominating Olympic Hockey In Sochi
Feb. 18, 2014

Toronto Star: What's wrong with Olympic women's hockey? Not much: Cox
Feb. 17, 2014

SI: Phil and Amanda Kessel are the new faces of U.S. ice hockey
Feb. 17, 2014

Bleacher Report: Team USA's Amanda Kessel's Quest for Gold at the 2014 Winter Olympics
Feb. 17, 2014

Huffington Post - U.S. Women's Hockey Team Clinches Spot In Gold Medal Game With 6-1 Win Over Sweden
Feb. 17, 2014

Pioneer Press: "So at home": Minnesota Olympian Marvin saw Oshie's Sochi tricks back in Warroad
Feb. 16, 2014

CBS Sports - US dominates Sweden, advances to women's hockey gold-medal game
Feb. 16, 2014

The Gold Standard: Inside Gophers Women's Hockey

Rival Films recently followed the Gopher women's hockey team to learn more about the program's culture and recipe for success. Check out a behind-the-scenes look at the program.

From Rival Films: "With back-to-back national titles, a 62-game winning streak that ended just months ago and a strong contingent competing in Sochi, the University of Minnesota has built an impressive women's hockey program. Go inside the team and learn how culture defines who they are."

Sixteen WCHA Players to Go for Gold

Go Gophers! TopTen
Go Gophers!
Feb 8, 2014; Sochi, RUSSIA; USA defenseman Megan Bozek (9) carries the puck away from Finland forward Nina Tikkinen (23) during the women's ice hockey preliminary round game in the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games at Shayba Arena. Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports
Go Gophers!

The Western Collegiate Hockey Association will be well-represented in the 2014 Olympic Winter Games women's hockey gold-medal game this Thursday when Canada and the U.S. face off in the championship game. The WCHA will have 16 current and former players fighting for the gold medal. The game will be televised live at 11 a.m. CT on NBC.

The WCHA broke down the league's Olympians by country and university:

The roster for the United States team includes 11 current and former players from the WCHA. All 21 members of the squad have college ties and every player has competed in an IIHF Women's World Championship, including 18 who captured a gold medal last April to propel the United States to the No. 1 ranking in the world.

In addition to the five current and former Gophers competing for Team USA - Megan Bozek, Amanda Kessel, Gigi Marvin, Anne Schleper and Lee Stecklein - Wisconsin and North Dakota also have players on the Team USA roster. Marvin is the lone Olympic veteran among the Gopher representatives. Marvin is one of 11 USA athletes with Olympic experience, and Stecklein is the youngest player on the roster. Kessel and Stecklein have college eligibility remaining.

Four former Badgers are on the U.S. Olympic squad. They are forwards Brianna Decker, Meghan Duggan, who has been named team captain, and Hilary Knight, along with goaltender Jessie Vetter. It marks the second Olympic Games for Duggan, Knight and Vetter as the trio played for UW head coach Mark Johnson in the 2010 Olympics, while Decker is making her Olympic debut. Decker, Duggan and Vetter all took home the Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award, given to the nation's top player, at some point during their Wisconsin careers, while Knight is the all-time leading scorer in school history. Vetter and Duggan each won three national championships while at Wisconsin, while Knight was a part of two national championship teams and Decker was a member of the 2011 national championship squad.

Former North Dakota players Monique and Jocelyne Lamoureux are also on Team USA. It is the second Olympic Winter Games for the Lamoureux twins, who played in their first Olympics winning silver with the U.S. in 2010 in Vancouver.

Along with the Team USA connections, three WCHA teams - Minnesota Duluth, Wisconsin and Ohio State - have former players on Team Canada, the defending Olympic champion. They are forward Natalie Spooner of Ohio State, defenseman Meghan Mikkelson of Wisconsin, Jocelyne Larocque of Minnesota Duluth and former UMD forwards Haley Irwin and Caroline Ouellette, the Canadian captain.

Overall there were 34 current and former WCHA players who competed in the Winter Olympics in Sochi, including Minnesota Duluth with 11 players, Minnesota with seven, North Dakota with six, Wisconsin with five, Ohio State with three and Minnesota State with two. There are five current and former WCHA players who will compete in the bronze medal game between Sweden and Switzerland Thursday at 6 am CT. That game will be televised by NBC Sports Network.

Along with five Team USA Gophers, Minnesota had Finnish teammates goalie Noora R├Ąty, an all-American collegian last season, and defenseman Mira Jalouso in competition for their native countries. Wisconsin has five players - the USA quartet will be playing against Mikkelson, who won two national titles while at Wisconsin and was named the 2007 WCHA Defensive Player of the Year.

Along with the Lamoureuxs, UND also had three current players that played in the 2014 Games. Forwards Michelle Karvinen and Susanna Tapani were key members of Team Finland, while defenseman Tanja Eisenschmid played for Germany. Former UND defenseman Susanne Fellner also played for Team Germany.

Minnesota Duluth had 11 current and former players on six teams in Sochi. Irwin, Larocque and Ouellette have been stalwarts for Team Canada, although Irwin missed some games with an injury. Both forwards, Irwin and Ouellette, played on Team Canada's gold medalists in 2010 in Vancouver. Ouellette is a three-time gold medalist for Canada (2010, 2006, 2002), while Larocque, an all-American defenseman, was one of the last players cut from the 2010 Canada Olympic squad after she was centralized for the first part of the 2009-10 NCAA season. After returning to UMD in January, she helped lead the Bulldogs to their fifth NCAA title that March.

Current Bulldog freshman defenseman Lara Stalder will play for a bronze medal with Team Switzerland Thursday against UMD alums defenseman Jenni Asserholt, goaltender Kim Martin Hansson and forward Pernilla Winberg who are all skating with Team Sweden. Ex-Bulldogs Alexandra Vafina and Iya Gavrilova played for the host team Russia, current Minnesota Duluth blueliner Tea Villila skated for Team Finland and former Bulldog goalie Jennifer Harss was on Germany's Olympic squad.

In addition to Spooner, Ohio State had two others alums in Sochi - forwards Minttu Tuominen and Emma Terho (Laaksonen) who played on Team Finland.

Minnesota State has two alums at the Games. Nina Tikkinen played for the Finnish team and fellow alum Emilia Andersson is on the Swedish tea which is still hoping for a bronze medal.

Read more:
WCHA: 16 Current and Former Players to Go for Gold in 2014 Winter Olympics
Gopher Olympian Photo Gallery

Gophers and Beavers Join for Worthy Cause

| No TrackBacks

DONATE TO AMPLATZ AND UNLIMITED DANCE MARATHON

The Gopher Athletics department held a special ceremony at the Feb. 8 game at Ridder Arena. The Gophers welcomed back one of their former hockey players Jenelle (Philipczyk) Kelley and her husband, Ben, at the game against Bemidiji State. Jenelle and Ben's daughter, Lilah, who is two years old, is battling a rare form of nervous system cancer (neuroblastoma). Lilah's aunt, Jenessa Philipczyk, is a member of the Beaver hockey team as the two teams combined to raise awareness towards cancer. In a Gold Out celebration, funds were raised for Unlimited and the Amplatz Chilren's Hospital, where Lilah has been a recent patient.

Future Gophers Named Ms. Hockey Finalists

Let's Play Hockey newspaper has announced the five finalists for the 19th annual Ms. Hockey Award, presented to the top senior girls' high school hockey player in Minnesota. Three future Gophers are among the top five candidates for the 2014 award: Minnetonka defenseman Sydney Baldwin, Benilde-St. Margaret's forward Kelly Pannek and Hopkins forward Nina Rodgers.

Each of the finalists has committed to a Division I women's hockey program as the top five also includes Irondale forward Sam Donovan (Brown) and Red Wing forward Nicole Schammel (Minnesota State). The five honorees have scored an average of 34 goals and 36 assists this season and have helped their respective teams to top 10 rankings.

In addition to their on-ice performance, all five finalists are standouts in the classroom as they check in with a cumulative grade-point average of 3.66.

The 2014 Ms. Hockey Award winner will be named at the Ms. Hockey Awards Banquet on Sunday, Feb. 23, at 11:30 a.m., at the RiverCentre in St. Paul. The award is sponsored by Let's Play Hockey, the Minnesota Wild and Shakopee Chevrolet. Fox 9's Dawn Mitchell will serve as the banquet emcee, while Fox Sports North's Jamie Hersch will be the keynote speaker. To order tickets to the Ms. Hockey Banquet, call Let's Play Hockey at 612-729-0023.

In addition to on-ice talent, criteria for the Let's Play Hockey Ms. Hockey Award include academics, community/extracurricular activities, citizenship and coachability.

Gophers in the News: Olympics Update

Women's hockey competition at the 2014 Winter Olympics is underway! Check out some of the media coverage, including mentions of the seven Golden Gopher Olympians competing for Team USA and Finland.

Yahoo Sports: Goalie Noora Raty, a 2-time NCAA champion, gives Finland a chance to reach women's hockey podium
Feb. 7, 2014

Pioneer Press: Noora Raty: Ex-Gophers goalie key to Finland's Olympic Hockey Hopes
Feb. 7, 2014

USA Hockey: U.S. Women Beat Finland, 3-1, to Open Olympic Play
Feb. 8, 2014

Star Tribune: U.S. Women overpower Finland, ex-Gopher goalie Raty
Feb. 8, 2014

Pioneer Press: Raty beaten early but not often
Feb. 8, 2014

SB Nation: Winter Olympics 2014 hockey schedule: USA, Canada women kick things off
Feb. 8, 2014

Indianapolis Star: Olympics a Blessing for US Women's hockey player
Feb. 9, 2014

The Hockey News: Finnish goalie Noora Raty justifies spot among THN People of Power
Feb. 10, 2014

ESPN Olympics: 2014 Winter Olympics: Megan Bozek
Feb. 10, 2014

KARE11: Results in: USA Women's Hockey takes on Switzerland
Feb. 10, 2014

Bleacher Report: Hockey's Power Siblings: Phil and Amanda Kessel Look to Cement Legacies in Sochi
Feb. 10, 2014

USA Hockey: U.S. Women Skate Past Switzerland 9-0
Feb. 10, 2014

Sporting News: 2014 Sochi Olympics: Amanda Kessel scores twice, U.S. women rout Swiss
Feb. 10, 2014

Washington Post: After injury, Amanda Kessel back for USA Hockey
Feb. 10, 2014

NCAA: Golden Gopher Amanda Kessel helps U.S. team make history in win vs. Swiss
Feb. 10, 2014

Minnesota Daily: Eye on Sochi: US defeats Finland 3-1
Feb. 10, 2014 

USA Hockey: Record-Setting Day for U.S. Women
Feb. 10, 2014

NBC Olympics: Amanda Kessel leads U.S. hockey
Feb. 10, 2014

Minnesota Daily: Eye on Sochi: USA Wins, Finland Loses
Feb. 11, 2014

USA Hockey: Kessel Hitting Her Stride Just in Time
Feb. 11, 2014

KARE 11: Waconia cheers for local Olympian
Feb. 12, 2014

Gophers in the News: Olympics Preview

Catch up on some of the coverage of the Olympic Gophers leading up to the start of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia.

Minnesota Daily: Gophers ready to watch old teammates
Feb. 6, 2014

NBC Olympics: Finland's Noora Raty sets sights on gold (and possibly Olympic hockey stardom)
Feb. 6, 2014

NBC Olympics: Are U.S. and Canada on golden collision course in hockey?
Feb. 5, 2014

ESPN Olympics Blog: A rare early test for Team USA
Feb. 5, 2014

Bleacher Report: Olympic Women's Hockey 2014: Complete Guide for Sochi Winter Olympics
Feb. 5, 2014

New York Times: Minnesota's Olympic Hockey Cradle (Pop. 1,781)
Feb. 4, 2014

Pioneer Press: Minnesota Women Take Blue Line to Sochi Olympics
Feb. 4, 2014

NBC Olympics: U.S.' Amanda Kessel finally ready for Olympic debut
Feb. 4, 2014

Los Angeles Times: Amanda Kessel getting back up to speed for U.S. Women's Hockey Team
Feb. 4, 2014

Bleacher Report: Amanda Kessel: Olympic Profile of U.S. Hockey Standout for Sochi 2014
Feb. 4, 2014

Star Tribune: U.S. women's hockey defense built around Gophers' players
Jan. 30, 2014

ESPN-W: Kessel Ready for Olympic Challenge
Jan. 31, 2014

New York Times: In Rinks Beyond Sochi, a Chance for Players Left Behind
Jan. 31, 2014

UMN News: Carlson School Undergrad to Compete in Sochi Olympics
Jan. 21, 2014

Gophers to Host "Gold Out" on Saturday

The Gopher women's hockey team is pleased to host a "Gold Out" for Saturday's game against Bemidji State at Ridder Arena. Puck drop is set for 4 p.m., and the first 2,000 fans in attendance will receive a free gold t-shirt courtesy of the University of Minnesota's Unlimited Dance Marathon to benefit Amplatz Children's Hospital.

Minnesota will also recognize a special Goldy's Hero this Saturday. Prior to the game, the Gophers will hold a ceremonial puck drop in honor of Lilah Kelley. Lilah is the daughter of Gopher women's hockey alum Jenelle (Philipczyk) Kelley and the niece of current Bemidji State player Jenessa Philipczyk. Lilah is a patient at Amplatz Children's Hospital.

Saturday is also Student Day for the Gophers, and all University of Minnesota students will receive free admission with a valid U-Card.

Following Saturday's game, the Gophers will hold a season ticket holder/VIP Pass-holder autograph session on the concourse.

About the Unlimited Dance Marathon
University of Minnesota student-athletes are hosting the first-annual Unlimited Dance Marathon, a 12-hour dance marathon at Mariucci Arena on Feb. 22-23. The event is designed to raise funds and awareness for Amplatz Children's Hospital. In addition to the no-sitting, no-sleeping dance marathon, the event will feature personal stories from children and families served through the resources that Amplatz provides. The event aims to unite the campus and the entire student-body to truly impact the lives of some incredible kids.

Learn more:
Donate now: Unlimited Dance Marathon

Future Gophers Up for Ms. Hockey Award

Three future Gopher women's hockey players have been named semifinalists for the 2014 Minnesota Ms. Hockey Award. Let's Play Hockey newspaper announced that Sydney Baldwin, Kelly Pannek and Nina Rodgers are among the 10 semifinalists for annual award, which will be presented to the top senior girls' high school hockey player in Minnesota.

All 10 players named as semifinalists are committed to a Division I school for next season, including six in the WCHA. The semifinalists have scored an average of 24 goals and 26 assists this season for their respective teams. All 10 players have been bound to the textbooks for the past several years as they check in with a cumulative grade-point average of 3.7.

The five finalists for the Ms. Hockey Award will be named in the Feb. 13 edition of Let's Play Hockey with the winner announced at the Ms. Hockey Awards Banquet on Sunday, Feb. 23, at 11:30 a.m., at the St. Paul RiverCentre.

The 10 semifinalists for the Let's Play Hockey Senior Goalie of the Year Award were also announced this week. The five finalists for the Senior Goalie of the Year Award will be named in the Feb. 6 edition of Let's Play Hockey. Both awards are sponsored by Let's Play Hockey, the Minnesota Wild and Shakopee Chevrolet.

In addition to on-ice talent, criteria for the Ms. Hockey Award include academics, community/extracurricular activities, citizenship and coachability.

Past winners include several current and former Gophers: 2013 Dani Cameranesi (Blake), 2012 Hannah Brandt (Hill-Murray), 2011 Karley Sylvester (Warroad), 2010 Bethany Brausen (Roseville), 2009 Becky Kortum (Hopkins), 2008 Sarah Erickson (Bemidji), 2007 Katharine Chute (Blake), 2006 Allie Thunstrom (North St. Paul), 2005 Gigi Marvin (Warroad), 2004 Erica McKenzie (Hastings), 2003 Andrea Nichols (Hibbing/Chisholm), 2002 Ashley Albrecht (South St. Paul), 2001 Renee Curtin (Roseville), 2000 Krissy Wendell (Park Center), 1999 Ronda Curtin (Roseville), 1998 Laura Slominski (Burnsville), 1997 Annamarie Holmes (Apple Valley), 1996 Winny Brodt (Roseville).

Read more:
Let's Play Hockey: 2014 Ms. Hockey, Senior Goalie semifinalists announced