Feb. 27, 2012
By Josh Brennock
Junior forward Becky Kortum has a tight-knit family that provides her a great support system. The Minnetonka native is living a dream, playing for her hometown Golden Gophers. Kortum battled trough misfortune earlier in the season. She has responded to have a real impact on the ice, and she takes just as much pride in being a leader in the classroom as she does on the ice.
Almost every weekend, Becky Kortum’s family can be seen in the crowd at Gopher women’s hockey games and Kortum is thankful for the support. “It was a big factor in my decision to come to Minnesota. My family loves to watch me play and I could never imagine not having their support near me.” Becky also credits even her extended family for making as many games as they can. The Kortum's love hockey, Becky’s brother, Jimmy, is a senior on the Hopkins High School team. Becky went to Gopher games as a young child and is very happy to be part of the tradition of Golden Gopher hockey. “I would not have wanted it any other way, a chance to be in this position is a lifetime achievement of mine.”
Kortum faced some adversity through her first two seasons as a Gopher, but the beginning of this season produced the biggest challenge. In October, Becky battled with mononucleosis that caused her to miss a month of hockey. “I probably took playing hockey for granted. When I had to take a month off, it was one of the hardest things I had to do. You just want to go out there and be part of the team.” The illness continued to be a struggle because it became Becky’s identity on the team among members of the media. Becky admits it was a challenge to get beyond mono, but she does not use it as an excuse. As the season has progressed Becky has been able to step out of the shadow of mono and make big contributions on the ice.
A big part of Kortum’s success is due to a new line combination she has been part of. Becky combines on a line with Bethany Brausen and Kelly Terry that provided the team with great jump and creates miss-matches for opponents. “I think our styles click together because they are go-getters with their speed and I sit back and analyze the game. I am not as quick, but I am bigger.” Kortum says Brausen and Terry are two of her closest friends on the team, and that their personality always make the game fun. The line has been an instant hit; Kortum has two goals in the last five games.
Life as a student-athlete is challenging for all that experience it. “Free time as a student-athlete is pretty elusive.” In addition to the demands of playing hockey in the WCHA, Kortum is serious in the classroom as a physiology major. Becky excels in the demanding major, being named an All-Academic Team honoree last season. Kortum is studying to take the MCAT at the end of the summer and hopes to continue on to medical school and find a career in the medical field.
Kortum has a lot on her plate, but she and her family always find time to travel up to their family cabin in Ontario, once a year. “It is my favorite place on the whole planet.” Becky’s Grandpa bought the cabin when her dad was a kid. It is a great place to relax and get away from the stresses of everyday life. “(The cabin) has no electricity or running water, but going there is always a blast. I look forward to it every year.”
There are a lot of goals still to be reached this season for the Gophers, but with an eye towards next year, Kortum looks to be one of the leaders. “I hope that I have become a leader on the team already.” As a junior, Becky leads by here work ethic. “I might not be the most skilled player on the team, but I will always be working my hardest and have a positive attitude.” Kortum might live with some of the freshman next year, she hopes she can be a calming influence, and help in their transition to college life. For now, Becky and the rest of the Gophers are focused on this postseason.