The Minnesota Golden Gophers women’s ice hockey team plays for the University of Minnesota at the Twin Cities campus in Minneapolis. The team is one of the members of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) and competes in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) in Division I. The Lady Gophers have won two NCAA Championships as well as a American Women's College Hockey Alliance championships. They have also been Western Collegiate Hockey Association champions five times.[1] In addition to their overall success as a competitive team, the Gophers have also been ranked in the nation's top two teams for attendance since becoming a varsity sport, and the team holds the largest single-game attendance record for women’s collegiate hockey, drawing 6,854 fans for the first Minnesota women's hockey game on November 2, 1997.[2]

In 2004-2005, Minnesota won back-to-back NCAA Ice Hockey Championships. Natalie Darwitz was a three-time All American, and three-time finalist for the Patty Kazmaier award. Darwitz left the program with the career scoring mark at Minnesota in three years and set two NCAA single-season record with 114 points (42 Goals,72 Assists) and most assists in 40 games in her final season.[3]


The Gophers have had two head coaches to date: Laura Halldorson and Brad Frost. Halldorson was the head coach for eleven years, from the 1997-1998 season to the 2006-2007 season. Her overall coaching record was 278-67-22 with the Gophers, a winning percentage of .787. During that time, the Gophers won four of their five WCHA championships and all three of their national championships. They averaged 28 wins per season and appeared in eight out of ten national tournaments, reaching seven finals. In addition, the Gophers experienced their best season in 2004-2005 with a 36-2-2 record.[4]

In the 2007-2008 season, Brad Frost became the temporary head coach. He had previously been an assistant coach. In his first year as head coach, Frost led the Gophers to a 21-game winning streak, the second longest streak in the University of Minnesota’s history. The season’s record ended with 27 wins, 7 losses, and 4 ties but also ended with a conference record of 21-5-2 which ranked second in the WCHA. The Gophers made another NCAA regional appearance and post-season Frost was awarded WCHA Coach of the Year. In the 2008-2009 season, his temporary coaching status was lifted and he was named permanent head coach of the Gophers. That same season he led the Gophers to a record of 32-5-3 and to another WCHA championship.[5] The Golden Gophers have had a cross state rivalry with the Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs. The Gophers handed the Bulldogs their first ever conference loss 4-3 in a sold out game at Pioneer Hall on February 11, 2000. [6]

Team HistoryEdit

Minnesota put its first women's team on the ice, in 1997-98 and Nadine Muzerall, a Canadian who graduated from Kimball Union Academy in Meriden, N.H., was among its initial recruits. [7]

In 2009-10, Noora Räty was just the second freshman to be a finalist for the Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award. Räty leads the NCAA in several goaltending categories. She leads the NCAA in goals-against average (1.24), save percentage (.951) and shutouts (7), while ranking third in winning percentage (.792). Her won loss record for the year is 17-3-4. In addition, Raty was the WCHA goaltending champion and earned numerous honours including All-WCHA First Team and All-WCHA Rookie Team. During the season, she was named the WCHA Defensive Player of the Week four times and WCHA Rookie of the Week on two occasions. She set a school record for most assists in one season by a goaltender (3).

Minnesota Duluth rivalryEdit

Minnesota-Duluth, had been a traditional rival to the Gophers in men's hockey. In 1998, Minnesota Duluth announced that it was going to assemble a women's team for the 1999-2000 season. Duluth gave a three-year, $210,000 contract to Shannon Miller, who coached Canada to the 1998 Olympic final in Nagano. Miller recruited players from Canada, Finland and Sweden, including four Olympians. The rivalry was fuelled when Miller took two players from Minnesota: star forward Jenny Schmidgall, whose 93 points led the nation, and defenseman Brittny Ralph, who would serve as the Bulldogs' captain. In the 1999-2000 season, Duluth would lose just once to the Gophers in their first five meetings, which included a 2-0 Bulldogs victory in the final of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association tournament. [8]

Season by season resultsEdit

Note: GP = Games played, W = Wins, L = Losses, T = Ties

Records as of January 19, 2010

Year Wins Losses Ties Coach Postseason
2009-10 17 3 4 Brad Frost
2008-09 32 5 3 Brad Frost NCAA Frozen Four
2007-08 27 7 4 Brad Frost NCAA Regionals
2006-07 23 12 1 Laura Halldorson Second, WCHA Tournament
2005-06 29 11 1 Laura Halldorson NCAA Frozen Four
2004-05 36 2 2 Laura Halldorson NCAA Champions
2003-04 30 4 2 Laura Halldorson NCAA Champions
2002-03 27 8 1 Laura Halldorson NCAA Frozen Four
2001-02 28 4 6 Laura Halldorson WCHA Champions, NCAA Frozen Four
2000-01 23 9 2 Laura Halldorson WCHA Champions
1999-00 32 6 1 Laura Halldorson First*
1998-99 29 4 3 Laura Halldorson Third*
1997-98 21 7 3 Laura Halldorson Fourth*

[9]* AWCHA Tournament from 1999-2000; NCAA took over the national tournament in 2001. From 2001 through 2004, the tournament consisted of a Final Four. The tournament expanded to eight teams in 2005.[10]


The Lady Gophers have called two ice rinks home. From their 1997-1998 season to their 2001-2002 season the Lady Gophers shared their home ice with the men’s team at Mariucci Arena. Then in the 2002-2003 season, the Lady Gophers received a rink of their own: Ridder Arena. Ridder Arena is the first and (to date) only arena to be dedicated to a women’s hockey team.

Individual Seasonal RecordsEdit

Best Plus/Minus Record in a Season: +74
Krissy Wendell 2004-2005[11]

Most Goals in a Season: 49
Nadine Muzerall 1999-2000[12]

Most Assists in a Season: 72
Natalie Darwitz 2004-2005[13]

Most Points in a Season: 114
Natalie Darwitz 2004-2005[14]

Current rosterEdit

Number Name Position Height Class
1 Jenny Lura Goaltender 5-8 Junior
2 Kelly Seeler Defence 5-6 Sophomore
3 Samantha Downey Forward 5-9 Freshman
4 Sarah Erickson Forward 5-6 Sophomore
5 Laura May Forward 5-8 Junior
6 Katie Frischmann Forward/Defence 5-5 Freshman
7 Kelli Blankenship Forward 5-6 Senior
8 Mira Jalosuo Defense 6-0 Freshman
9 Jaimie Horton Forward 5-7 Senior
10 Brittany Francis Forward 5-7 Senior
11 Becky Kortum Forward 5-7 Freshman
14 Chelsey Jones Forward 5-8 Senior
17 Emily West Forward 5-5 Junior
18 Nikki Ludwigson Forward 5-7 Sophomore
19 Megan Bozek Defence 5-9 Freshman
20 Alexandra Zebro Defence 6-0 Senior
22 Anne Schieper Defence 5-10 Sophomore
24 Jen Schoullis Forward 5-9 Junior
25 Terra Rasmussen Forward 5-7 Junior
26 Michelle Maunu Defence 5-6 Senior
31 Alyssa Grogan Goaltender 5-6 Sophomore
41 Noora Räty Goaltender 5-4 Freshman


Scoring leadersEdit

  • As of 2009
Name Years Games Goals Assists Points
Natalie Darwitz 2002-05 99 102 144246
Krissy Wendell 2002-05 101 106 131237
Nadine Muzerall 1997-01 129 139 96235
Kelly Stephens 2001-05 148 97 121218
Gigi Marvin 2005-09 152 87 108195
Ronda Curtin 1999-03 147 60 107167
Laura Slominski 1998-02 146 65 96161
LaToya Clarke 2001-04 140 67 92159
Bobbi Ross 2004-08 152 75 77152


Season Captains
1997-98 Julie Otto, Kris Scholz
1998-99 Amber Hegland, Kris Scholz
1999-00 Shannon Kennedy, Kris Scholz
2000-01 Tracy Engstrom, Kris Scholz
2001-02 Tracy Engstrom, Laura Slominski
2002-03 Ronda Curtin, Kelsey Bills, Winny Brodt
2003-04 Kelsey Bills, La Toya Clarke
2004-05 Kelly Stephens, Krissy Wendell
2005-06 Andrea Nichols, Chelsey Brodt, Bobbi Ross
2006-07 Andrea Nichols, Bobbi Ross
2007-08 Bobbi Ross, Whitney Graft
2008-09 Melanie Gagnon, Gigi Marvin
2009-10 Michelle Maunu


  • The following Gophers players have participated in Olympic Women's hockey.

2002 U.S. Olympic TeamEdit

2006 U.S. Olympic TeamEdit

  • Natalie Darwitz
  • Courtney Kennedy
  • Kelly Stephens
  • Lyndsay Wall
  • Krissy Wendell (2006 Team U.S.A. Captain)[16]

2010 U.S. Olympic TeamEdit

  • Natalie Darwitz
  • Rachel Drazan
  • Joeclyne Lamoureux
  • Monique Lamoureux
  • Gigi Marvin

2010 Finnish Olympic TeamEdit



  • 2000 – American Women's College Hockey Alliance championship
  • 2004 – NCAA championship
  • 2005 – NCAA championship


  • 2001
  • 2002
  • 2004
  • 2005
  • 2009

Awards and honorsEdit

All AmericansEdit

Year Player Team
1998 Nadine Muzerall (2nd team, Women’s Hockey News)
1998 Brittny Ralph (2nd team, Women’s Hockey News)
1999 Courtney Kennedy (2nd team, AWCHA)
1999 Nadine Muzerall (2nd team, AWCHA)
1999 Jenny Schmidgall-Potter (2nd team, AWCHA)
2001 Courtney Kennedy (1st team, JOFA)
2002 Ronda Curtin (1st team, JOFA)
2003 Ronda Curtin (1st team, JOFA)
2003 Natalie Darwitz (1st team, JOFA)
2003 Krissy Wendell (2nd team, JOFA)
2004 Krissy Wendell (1st team, JOFA)
2004 Natalie Darwitz (2nd team, JOFA)
2005 Natalie Darwitz (1st team CCM)
2005 Lyndsay Wall (1st team CCM)
2005 Krissy Wendell (1st team CCM)
2005 Jody Horak (2nd team CCM)
2008 Gigi Marvin (2nd team, RBK HOCKEY/AHCA)
2009 Melanie Gagnon (2nd team, RBK HOCKEY/AHCA))
2009 Monique Lamoureux (2nd team, RBK HOCKEY/AHCA)
2010 Noora Raty (1st team, RBK HOCKEY/AHCA)
2010 Anne Schleper[17] (1st team, RBK HOCKEY/AHCA)

All-WCHA teamsEdit

Year Player Team
2000 Winny Brodt First-Team All-WCHA
2000 Nadine Muzerall First-Team All-WCHA
2000 Nadine Muzerall First-Team All-WCHA
2000 Courtney Kennedy Second-Team All-WCHA
2000 Crystal Nicholas Second-Team All-WCHA
2000 Laura Slominski Second-Team All-WCHA
2000 Ambria Thomas Second-Team All-WCHA
2001 Courtney Kennedy First-Team All-WCHA
2001 Erica Killewald First-Team All-WCHA
2001 Ambria Thomas Second-Team All-WCHA
2001 LaToya Clarke Second-Team All-WCHA
2002 Ronda Curtin First-Team All-WCHA
2002 Jody Horak First-Team All-WCHA
2002 Kelly Stephens Second-Team All-WCHA
2003 Ronda Curtin First-Team All-WCHA
2003 Natalie Darwitz First-Team All-WCHA
2003 Jody Horak First-Team All-WCHA
2003 Krissy Wendell Second-Team All-WCHA
2004 Natalie Darwitz First-Team All-WCHA
2004 Krissy Wendell First-Team All-WCHA
2005 Natalie Darwitz First-Team All-WCHA
2005 Lyndsay Wall First-Team All-WCHA
2005 Krissy Wendell First-Team All-WCHA
2005 Kelly Stephens Second-Team All-WCHA
2005 Jody Horak Second-Team All-WCHA
2006 Erica McKenzie First-Team All-WCHA
2006 Gigi Marvin Third-Team All-WCHA
2007 Gigi Marvin First-Team All-WCHA
2007 Bobbi Ross Third-Team All-WCHA
2007 Melanie Gagnon Third-Team All-WCHA
2008 Gigi Marvin First-Team All-WCHA
2008 Rachael Drazan First-Team All-WCHA
2008 Erica McKenzie Second-Team All-WCHA
2008 Anya MIller Second-Team All-WCHA
2008 Bobbi Ross Third-Team All-WCHA
2008 Melanie Gagnon Third-Team All-WCHA
2009 Melanie Gagnon First-Team All-WCHA
2009 Jocelyne Lamoureux First-Team All-WCHA
2009 Monique Lamoureux First-Team All-WCHA
2009 Rachel Drazan Third-Team All-WCHA
2009 Gigi Marvin Third-Team All-WCHA
2009 Anne Schleper Third-Team All-WCHA
2010 Noora Raty First-Team All-WCHA
2010 Anne Schleper First-Team All-WCHA
2010 Emily West First-Team All-WCHA

WCHA Defensive Player of the Year Edit

Year Player
2000 Winny Brodt
2001 Courtney Kennedy
2002 Ronda Curtin
2003 Ronda Curtin
2009 Melanie Gagnon
2010 Anne Schleper

WCHA All-Rookie Team Edit

Year Player
2003 Natalie Darwitz
2003 Krissy Wendell
2005 Bobbi Ross
2006 Gigi Marvin
2006 Melanie Gagnon
2006 Kim Hanlon
2007 Michelle Maunu
2008 Jenny Lura
2009 Jocelyne Lamoureux
2009 Monique Lamoureux
2009 Anne Schleper
2010 Noora Raty


Kazmaier AwardEdit

  • Krissy Wendell, Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award Winner, 2005[19]

Kazmaier Award FinalistsEdit

Year Player Rank
1998 Nadine Muzerall (Top 11)
2000 Winny Brodt (Top Ten)
2001 Courtney Kennedy (Top Three)
2001 Nadine Muzerall (Top Ten)
2002 Ronda Curtin (Top Three)
2002 Laura Slominski (Top Ten)
2003 Natalie Darwitz (Top Ten)
2003 Krissy Wendell (Top Ten)
2004 Natalie Darwitz (Top Ten)
2004 Krissy Wendell (Top Ten)
2005 Natalie Darwitz (Top Ten)
2005 Krissy Wendell (Top Ten)
2008 Gigi Marvin (Top Ten)
2009 Gigi Marvin (Top Ten)
2009 Monique Lamoureux (Top Ten)
2010 Noora Raty (Top Three)


  • Anne Schleper, 2010 Patty Kazmaier Award nominee[20]
  • Emily West, 2010 Patty Kazmaier Award nominee

WCHA honorsEdit

  • WCHA Goaltending champion
    • 2010: Noora Raty
  • WCHA Rookie of the Year
    • 2003: Natalie Darwitz
    • 2005: Bobbi Ross
    • 2006: Gigi Marvin
    • 2009: Monique Lamoureux
  • WCHA Player of the Year
    • 2001: Courtney Kennedy
    • 2002: Ronda Curtin
    • 2004: Krissy Wendell
    • 2005: Krissy Wendell



  • Kelli Blankenship, 2010 Frozen Four Skills Competition participant[22]
  • Laura Halldorson, National Coach of the Year, 2002
  • Laura Halldorson, National Coach of the Year, 2004 [23]
  • On September 27, 2007, Erica Killewald and Nadine Muzerall were the first women’s hockey players to be inducted into the University of Minnesota’s ‘M’ Club Hall of Fame.[24]

Notable playersEdit

  • Ronda Curtin
  • Natalie Darwitz
  • Rachel Drazan
  • Melanie Gagnon
  • Gigi Marvin

  • Nadine Muzerall
  • Kelly Stephens
  • Ambria Thomas
  • Lyndsay Wall
  • Krissy Wendell

Erica KillewaldEdit

Erica Killewald ranks first in career saves (2,385) and shutouts (21), second in wins (73) and sixth in goals-against average (1.88). She also owns four of the top seven winningest seasons for a goaltender. Killewald will be remembered as the winning goaltender for the first ever women’s hockey game at Minnesota. She led Minnesota to an 8-0 win over Augsburg in front of a record crowd at Mariucci Arena on Nov. 2, 1997.

After an 18-win freshman season that saw her finish tied for second in the nation with five shutouts, Killewald led the Golden Gophers to a third-place finish at the 1999 AWCHA National Championship. During that sophomore season, Killewald held opponents to two or fewer goals in 23 of 26 starts and led nation in goals against average (1.24) and save percentage (.947). She would be named the Golden Gophers most improved and most valuable player.

At the 2000 AWCHA National Championship, Killewald stopped 74 of 78 shots in the tournament, and earned most valuable player honors. On the season, she posted a 17-6-1 record, including an 8-0-1 mark in 10 games during the tram’s 21-game unbeaten streak. In a 2-2 tie at archrival Minnesota Duluth, Killewald made 51 saves to set a school record.

Killewald wrapped up her collegiate career in 2000-01 as part of the Golden Gophers first ever WCHA Regular Season Championship. On the season, Kilewald accumulated a 19-8-2 record. She would lead the WCHA in goals-against average (2.12) and save percentage (.914) to earn First Team All-WCHA honors.

During her overall career at Minnesota, Killewald compiled a 73-23-9 career record. Kilewald was also a member of the WCHA All-Academic Team. She would graduate with a degree in kinesiology and is currently a radiologic technologist at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit.

Nadine MuzerallEdit

Nadine Muzerall is Minnesota’s all time leader with 139 career goals, including a record 40 power-play goals. She was a member of the inaugural team of University of Minnesota women’s hockey. In her freshman season, she had a 32-goal, 32-assist performance to earn Women’s Hockey News Second Team All-American, Patty Kazmaier Award Finalist and team most valuable player accolades.

During her 1998-99 sophomore season, Muzerall was named a Second Team AWCHA All-American, and was part of the third-place finish at the 1999 AWCHA National Championship. She compiled totals of 30 goals, 18 assists and 48 points. Her numbers ranked in the top 20 nationally in seven offensive categories.

Muzerall scored the game-winning goal in the 2000 national championship win over Brown (Minnesota would win 4-2) and earned all-tournament honors with three goals and an assist in two games. For the season, Muzerall scored 49 goals, 28 assists and 77 points. Her 49 goals led the nation, power-play goals (16), power-play points (27) and game-winning goals (9). Her 49 goals sit atop the Minnesota season record book. In a 10-0 win over Bemidji State, Muzerall set school records with five goals and seven points. During the season, Muzerall went on a 20-game point streak, earned First Team All-WCHA and Minnesota team most valuable player honors.

Muzerall finished her collegiate career in 2000-01. She was part of the first ever WCHA Regular Season Championship, with contributions of 28 goals and 18 assists. For her efforts, she was named a Patty Kazmaier Award Finalist for the second time in her career. In the Minnesota career record book, Muzerall finished her career first in goals (139), goals-per-game (1.08), power-play goals (40) and shots (726), third in points (235), fourth in plus/minus (+149), fifth in shorthanded goals (4) and sixth in assists (96). She graduated with a degree in family social science. In 2003, she became head coach of the Northfield Mount Hermon School girls’ hockey team in Gill, Massachusetts.

Golden Gophers in professional hockeyEdit

Player Team League
Winny Brodt Minnesota Whitecaps WWHL
Andrea Nichols Minnesota Whitecaps WWHL
Allie Sanchez Minnesota Whitecaps WWHL

See alsoEdit


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