Meet the Newcomers: Kelly Pannek
Freshman Kelly Pannek

July 23, 2014

MINNEAPOLIS – The Golden Gopher women's hockey team welcomes four new freshmen for the 2014-15 season. One of the talented freshmen is right-handed forward Kelly Pannek, who joins the Gophers from Plymouth, Minn.

Pannek finished her senior season at Benilde-St. Margaret's High School with 99 points (41 goals, 58 assists), and she was a finalist for the 2014 Minnesota Ms. Hockey award. Pannek led the Red Knights to a runner-up finish at the 2014 Minnesota Class AA State Tournament as a senior.

Pannek has international experience skating with the U.S. Under-18 team and attending USA Hockey development camps, along with the 2013 IIHF High Performance Camp in England. She was also a standout soccer player in high school, being named Minnesota Ms. Soccer her senior year and leading Benilde to back-to-back state titles in 2012 and 2013.

Sydney Baldwin, Cara Piazza and Nina Rodgers join Pannek to round out the Gophers' incoming freshmen class. Stay tuned as introduces each of the freshmen, beginning with Pannek.

Gopher Sports: How did you first start playing hockey?

Kelly Pannek: I used to rollerblade around my house, and I eventually asked my dad if I could play hockey.

GS: What sports did you play growing up?

KP: I played hockey, soccer, basketball and baseball.

GS: How did you choose hockey over soccer as the sport to focus on in college?

KP: I chose hockey over soccer because I genuinely enjoy all of the things that hockey involves, like practices, games, and working out. I didn’t really enjoy soccer practices as much.



GS: How did you end up choosing the University of Minnesota?

KP: I really like the coaching staff. They made me feel really comfortable and at home, starting with my very first visit. I also really like the atmosphere they have made for the team, as well as all the University itself has to offer.

GS: Do you have a major or career field in mind?

KP: I am enrolled in the Carlson School of Management, so I plan on doing something in business.

GS: What do you like to do in your free time?

KP: I like to read, watch Netflix, or do anything active in my free time.

GS: What was it like scoring a hat trick in the state championship game?

KP: It was an awesome experience to get to play in the state tournament, and it’s something I will never forget. It was exciting to score three goals in the championship game as well, but I would trade those three goals for a state title.

GS: What has your USA Hockey experience been like?

KP: I feel really honored to be able to be a part of USA Hockey, where I had the chance to be a part of the U-18 team and experience hockey at a high international level. I also had the opportunity to travel to England and participate in the IIHF High Performance Camp, which was cool because I got to meet people from so many different countries and see how they play and train.

GS: Do you have any pre-game rituals or superstitions?

KP: I usually play some soccer before games and listen to music.

GS: What are you most looking forward to about Gopher women’s hockey?

KP: I am looking forward to being a member of the team and contributing in any way that I can. There is so much tradition and history involved with this program, and I look forward to being part of it.



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