March 3, 2014
MINNEAPOLIS – Growing up, junior defenseman Rachel Ramsey was no stranger to hockey. Her father, Mike Ramsey, is a former Gopher who played on the legendary 1980 Olympic hockey team and then had a long and successful NHL career. Rachel has carved a legacy all her own on the ice however, winning the Minnesota Class AA state title her final year in high school and then winning back-to-back NCAA championships in her first two years with the Gophers. Ramsey hopes to make it four championships in a row this year, as she and her teammates continue into the postseason.
How did you first start playing hockey?
My dad was obviously a very big influence, but it was kind of my own decision. My mom tried to float me towards dance or gymnastics, but I just kind of revolted and went for hockey. She actually cried the first time she saw me in hockey gear.
What was your high school hockey experience like?
Playing for Minnetonka was amazing. It was a program that was still being built when I got there, and it was really awesome being a part of their first state championship my senior year. We worked really hard all year to get there.
How did you end up choosing the University of Minnesota?
I was twelve years old when I went to my first Gopher game with my grandparents, and I was just kind of in awe of the players. It was just a program that I wanted to be a part of all my life.
What’s your major?
I’m majoring in business and marketing with a minor in communications and a minor in management. I hope to go into broadcasting, or something in advertising.
What’s your best memory with the team off the ice?
Celebrating our national championship my freshman year is a great memory. It was fantastic.
Who’s your favorite opponent to play against?
Probably Wisconsin. We have a very healthy rivalry, and it’s always fun to play them. I think both teams enjoy the competition and have a lot of respect for each other. I probably get more amped up and competitive against North Dakota though.
What do you think the team’s biggest challenge was coming into this year?
This season I think there were a lot of questions as to how good we were going to be. We lost a lot of good seniors from last year, and we lost Amanda Kessel and Lee Stecklein to the Olympics. The team really came together though, and it’s been an amazing season so far. I think we responded well to the challenge. Some programs make excuses about losing Olympic players, but our team really rallied around that and said we can do it with or without them.
What was it like watching your former teammates in the Olympics?
It was amazing to watch them play, but heartbreaking to watch them lose. I’m so proud of them for representing their country, whether it was Finland or the U.S.
What does the team have to focus on in the playoffs?
We just have to keep doing what we’re doing and play our best hockey. I think there’s another notch we still can reach if we stay focused. We have to work every single night, because nothing’s locked in place or guaranteed at this point.
What do you think makes Gopher women’s hockey so special?
The chemistry of the team off the ice. This is like nothing I’ve ever been a part of. Our coaches do a fantastic job not only recruiting good hockey players but good people as well. It makes for a great environment that everyone wants to be around.
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