Dec. 20, 2013
MINNEAPOLIS - Senior Kelly Terry grew up in Whitby, Ontario, about 35 miles outside of Toronto. The academic and athletic opportunities presented by the University of Minnesota and the home away from home feeling of the Twin cities drew her to Minneapolis after she learned to play hockey while tagging along after her older brother on her family's backyard rink. The biology major has her sights set on medical school - but not before making even more lifelong memories with her Gopher women's hockey teammates both on and off the ice.
How did you first start playing hockey?
Hockey is just something that my family has always been a part of. My older brother played, and I always wanted to do everything he wanted to do. I think that's kind of what motivated me. We had a backyard rink, and I learned to skate when I was really young.
My dad has always been a huge fan of mine and a great teacher. I've learned a lot about hockey from him, and he's definitely always supported me and motivated me to be better. He played for the Minnesota North Stars for a little while. My mom actually started to play hockey in her 40s. She's very athletic, but she never played hockey growing up. I actually got to play with her two years ago at Christmas, and it was hilarious and a ton of fun. She's very fast.
What was your youth hockey experience like?
I played for the Whitby Wolves all the way up. It's a great organization. I had a lot of great coaches, including my dad. I learned a lot growing up. I played three years with the Junior Wolves and had a great time there, too.
How did you choose the University of Minnesota?
I chose the U because it had a great balance of academics and hockey. I really liked the fact that Minnesota is a really big hockey state, and I had heard the fans are great, which they have been. The atmosphere kind of drew me here, and I also knew that the U has great things to offer.
What are your career plans?
I'm a biology major, and I would like to go to medical school. When I was three years old, I told my mom I wanted to be a hospital. What I meant by that was that I wanted to be a doctor. Kind of creepy, but I spent most of my childhood performing fake surgeries on my stuffed animals. I always found that extremely interesting, even the gory stuff, so something in medicine was always what I wanted to pursue and now I'm at that point.
I'd really like to end up back in Canada, so if I have the luxury of choosing what school I go to, then it will definitely be somewhere in Ontario. I know the U has a great program as well.
What's your favorite thing about the Twin Cities?
My favorite thing about the Twin Cities would have to be the skyline. I think it's beautiful. In addition, I like that it kind of feels like home. You have the cities, and then you go a half hour out and you have all the lakes and cottage country. It's very similar to back home in Whitby. I feel like Minnesota is kind of a second Canada. I guess people always say that, even down to the way we talk. It's very similar, which is probably another thing that drew me to the U. It's home away from home.
What's your favorite memory off the ice with the team?
That's a really hard question. I've had a great time with my roommates all four years. The things that we come up with are just indescribable and hilarious. I really wish I would've written down everything my past four years because we have so many great stories. For example, we had a pumpkin throwing contest in our kitchen with about 30 pumpkins after we had a carving contest with our entire team freshman year. It was everywhere - and a ton of fun.
What's the biggest thing you've learned from your coaches?
They coaches have taught me how to be a good person. Hockey's not everything, but it definitely has a lot of lessons involved when you're playing because it's such a big part of your life. It's important to have a balance and appreciate everything from your education to hockey, your family, and relationships. I've definitely grown from my freshman year because of my coaches.
Who is your favorite opponent to play against?
My favorite opponent to play against is North Dakota. It's always a giant battle, and wins are much more satisfactory when they come against them. We have that extra edge when we're playing a team like that.
What makes Gopher women's hockey so special?
I think it's the passion that everybody involved with Gopher women's hockey has for the sport. Everybody who plays high school hockey here in Minnesota wants to play for the U, and that's just amazing. I feel really lucky that I get to be a part of that even though I didn't grow up around the U. We draw a great fan base, and it's so much fun to play every game.
Pannek Ties Program Record
Kelly Pannek scored back-to-back goals just 15 seconds apart against Bemidji State last weekend.
Five Minutes with Sophie Skarzynski
Catch up with the sophomore defenseman as the Gophers prepare for this week's series at Wisconsin.
Pannek Garners WCHA Monthly Honors
Kelly Pannek is the WCHA Offensive Player of the Month for November after leading the NCAA with 18 points in six games.