Aug. 2, 2012
Brook Garzone joins the Gopher women's hockey team after her prep career at Shattuck-St. Mary's in Faribault, Minn. Brook is a native of Sand Springs, Okla., and is just the second Oklahoma native to play Gopher women's hockey (Crystal Nicholas, a Tulsa native who played from 1997-2000, was the other). Gophersports.com sat down with Brook to learn more about her background and what she's looking forward to in her University of Minnesota career.
Do you feel like your transition to college is a little bit easier after leaving home to attend boarding school for the last four years?
I think so. It's kind of like déja vu, I've been through this before. Some people will get homesick going to college, but I'm used to being away from my family. It's been a great transition, actually.
Who's still at home in Oklahoma? Tell us about your family.
My mom and dad are in Oklahoma, and then I have an older sister and brother. They are 27 and 29, so I'm the baby of the family.
The last two years I was at Shattuck, my mom actually moved up to Minnesota with me. She's such a sweetheart. We lived together because she wanted to be close to me for my last two years of high school. She loved it in Minnesota, and actually wanted to move up to Minneapolis with me, but I told her that it was time for me to be on my own. She's back in Oklahoma with the rest of the family, and my parents are planning to come up to Minnesota once a month.
How did you get started playing hockey?
It's weird, because I'm from Oklahoma. This is kind of embarrassing, but I saw the Mighty Ducks movie on the Disney Channel. I saw the girls skating in the movie, and I wanted to skate too. Ever since then, I've loved hockey. That's how my dad tells the story.
So, you're the lone hockey player in your family?
Yep! No one plays hockey in my family at all.
Growing up in a state where hockey isn't such a big deal, how was your experience in the sport different than some of your Gopher teammates who grew up in places where hockey is more prevalent?
There was only one rink that we went to. There used to be two rinks, but it's gone downhill, now there's only one. We drive about 40 minutes to get to the rink. I always played with boys, because there weren't other girls playing hockey there. It was awesome, though, I loved it. The first time I played girl's hockey was when I went to Shattuck.
Tell us about your senior season at Shattuck-St. Mary's and how that went.
My senior year went well. We didn't win at nationals, but we got third place. We played Assabet in our last game, and they went on to win the national title. It was a tough game, it went into overtime and they scored toward the end of overtime. It was a great game, both teams really gave it their all. Overall, our season went well. I was the captain, which was tough because we lost, but it was a great year.
After being a captain for your team last year, what will it be like to be a rookie on the Minnesota squad this season?
It's going to be a transition, but coming to campus this summer has been great. We get to skate with the players who've been here for a few years, and even some of the recent graduates like Jen Schoullis and Anne Schleper. They've really been helping us out. They're showing us the ropes, and they're great leaders. Everyone has been so nice, they're really sweet girls. It's been going really well.
What made Minnesota the right place for your college career?
When I was little, I always wanted to go to Minnesota or Boston College. Those were the only teams I knew that had women's hockey. I didn't know about all the other schools with women's hockey because in Oklahoma, you don't really hear much about hockey. You just hear about Oklahoma and Oklahoma State. When I went to Shattuck, I saw that there were a lot more choices, so I actually didn't want to go to Minnesota anymore. My mom convinced me to at least come to Minnesota for a visit. I visited here, and I fell in love. I got that gut feeling that this is where I want to be. It just felt right. The team chemistry at Minnesota is awesome too, that's another thing I fell for. You can tell it's a really close group.
How closely were you following the Gophers during their run to the NCAA Championship last year?
My mom loves Gopher hockey, and we went to a lot of the games. We were actually at the championship game. We figured that since it was in Duluth, we might as well go to the tournament. My best friend was with us, and she's going to Wisconsin, so it was kind of weird. We were both trying not to cheer too hard when our future team scored, but it was fun. We went to Gopher games a lot last year, my mom just loves Minnesota and loves the Gophers. I knew Amanda Kessel (who also came to the Gophers from Shattuck-St. Mary's), and I liked to watch her play. It wasn't far to drive to Minneapolis from Faribault, it's only about 45 minutes, and we brought a lot of my friends to games too. It was pretty great.
When you look ahead to the next four years here at the U, what goals do you have for yourself as a hockey player?
Obviously, I want to win a national title, but I also want to develop as a player and grow as a person. I just want to get better in every aspect. I want to have a great experience, have a fun four years, and not regret anything.
How do you feel about getting to spend the next four years playing a sport you love?
Sometimes, people will grumble about going to practice, but I love hockey. I've played it my whole life, and I don't really know anything else. The chance to play hockey in college and have four more years, that's something I adore.
Looking ahead to the competition schedule for the season, what opponent are you most looking forward to playing?
I'm really looking forward to playing Wisconsin, to be honest. I have a lot of friends who play there, plus the rivalry between the teams is great. The intensity of the games just goes up because it's Minnesota versus Wisconsin.
How is your summer training going? Do you feel like you're going to be ready come September?
I do. It's been tough, and workouts are hard, but it's been going really well.
On the academic side of things, do you have a major chosen?
I'm undecided on my major right now, but I'm leaning toward business. I want to see what's out there and what the options are.
What classes have you been taking this summer?
I'm taking two classes, a freshman writing class and I'm taking a public speaking class. I hate speaking in front of people, but it's good practice. It's really helping me out.
Outside of hockey, what are your hobbies? What do you like to do in your free time?
I just love hanging out with friends. The other day, a couple of my friends and I went to play tennis. I was on the golf team at Shattuck, and I'm not good, but I try and I have fun playing golf. I like to stay active and hang out with friends.
How has coming to campus this summer helped you out in preparing for the regular school year?
It's given me a chance to dip my toes in the water. But, I'm so excited for the season that I want to just jump in! It's been great to learn my way around campus and get to know my teammates. I can't wait for the season to start!