USA Hockey Magazine

October 2018

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HALL PASS OCTOBER 2018 USAHOCKEYMAGAZINE.COM // 11 3 U S A H O C K E Y N E W S , P E O P L E & P R O G R A M S O F F THE D R AW PHOTO BY Getty Images W hen Natalie Darwitz' playing career for the U.S. Women's National Team concluded, there was no hesitation about what she would do next. Darwitz wanted to stay in the game that cul- tivated so many friendships and connections for the American forward. She began coaching with her dad and eventually fell in love with the profession and the different perspective that coaching offers. "The connections and just developing rela- tionships," Darwitz said about her biggest take- aways from hockey. "Now that I'm coaching, you see it when you walk into the rink. Whether I'm coaching a teammate's daughter or seeing someone I used to play against, there's a bond, a certain respect there. It's pretty special." One of the most well-respected players of her generation, Darwitz will become the fourth female enshrined in the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame. "There's a lot of emotions, between honor and being surprised," the 34-year-old said. "Never did I lace up the skates thinking I would be an Olympian or inducted into the Hall of Fame. It's a tremendous experience and I'm very fortunate and lucky." Darwitz' dedication produced a prolific career as a player, while her knowledge of the game is evident behind the bench for Hamline University, being recently tabbed's D -III Women's National Coach of the Year. Her contributions to women's hockey in her home state of Minnesota have spanned almost two decades now. Bursting onto the scene as a 14-year-old, the Eagan native amassed 316 goals and 468 points over her high school career, two totals that still stand as girls' Minnesota High School records. Playing at the University of Minnesota, Darwitz was selected as an All-American three times and contributed to back-to-back national championships as well as a 114-point total in 2005, a single-season NCAA record. Darwitz' storied career with the USA crest began at just 15 years old, becoming the youngest player to be selected by the Women's National Team. It led to a 10-year tenure, four of them serving as captain, representing the United States on the international stage and contributing to two silver medals (2002, 2010) and a bronze (2006) in the Olympic Winter Games. In the IIHF Women's World Championship competition, Darwitz won three gold medals and five silver medals. Her play on the ice and the way she carried herself away from the rink set her up to be a role model for female hockey players, pushing them to pursue their passion on the ice. "I don't think at the time when you're playing you realize what you're doing," Darwitz said. "Now that I'm in the coaching ranks, it's fun to hear about my influence or that I took the time to chat with a young girl playing hockey." P – Jeff Carpenter Prolific Playing Career Earns Darwitz Hall Call k Natalie Darwitz is one of five honorees from the Class of 2018 being inducted into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame, along with Red Berenson, David Poile, Paul Stewart and Leland "Hago" Harrington. The induction ceremony is slated for Dec. 12 in Nashville, Tenn.

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