Meghan “Huey” Huertas in action with the Whale in Season Three

HUEY HUERTAS: There Will Always Be A Hockey Sweater

In the film Field of Dreams, Ray Kinsella (Kevin Costner) talks to Doctor Archibald “Moonlight” Graham (Burt Lancaster) concerning the fact that he only got a chance to play one day in the Major Leagues.And that he did not get a chance to bat, which was his dream. Ray thinks that it would be considered a tragedy by most people. Doc responds, “ No son, if I had only been able to be a doctor for one day, now that would have been a tragedy.” And so it is with all athletes, the halcyon days are a relatively short period of their days, even for most professionals. And when they retire, it is not time to collect a Social Security check. When our NWHL players in particular, hang up their skates, it is to get into a a different game full time. The game of the rest of their lives. 

And so it is at this point for our former #43, our hard charging forward Meghan “ Huey” Huertas (more on Huey’s career in her first interview here on the website) .As you may recall, Huey’s final season was cut short by injury in NWHL year three. And as happens in a contact sport like hockey, these things often are not isolated instances, and she had had some previous medical issues. Meghan explained “​During the offseason I had surgery to repair an injury from my senior year of college. In my last season with the Whale I had a season ending injury. That took me about 6+ months to fully recover. I have not played in a hockey game since then.” More often as not, it is that one play, or accumulation of impacts, that ends careers, rather than a gradual diminish meant of talent. The heart says “I’m ready” but the body says you’re not. 

In terms of her physical conditioning however, Meghan is still more fit than most. We asked her about this and she told us “ I enjoy working out, so I workout regularly. I use my past hockey workout programs. But I am not doing anything hockey related currently.” She added “​After I was cleared by my doctor I started kiteboarding” For those unfamiliar, kiteboarding is the sport of riding on a small surfboard that is propelled across the water by a large kite to which the kiteboarder is tethered to with a harness. In terms of athleticism, it is part surfing wakeboarding, snowboarding, windsurfing, paragliding, and skateboarding, and is considered an extreme sport.

As to what is going on in her off ice career, Huey told us “​I currently do not have a job and am a full time student. ​After I received my bachelors from UMD, I began taking pre-med courses. I have completed all of my pre-med courses and am currently studying for the MCAT.(Medical College Admission Test}” explaining  “I want to be a doctor.”

And as the fans of Cetacean Nation know, Huey is an angler. We have posted a few of her impressive catches on our social media, in addition to the one included with this interview below.  We asked if she could tell us how she got started in her fishing career, and what type of fishing she enjoys. She explained “My dad used to take me fishing all the time as a kid. It’s something I have always enjoyed.My favorite type of fishing is “runnin-and-gunnin” for dolphin (before i get yelled at - not flipper the dolphin). Basically you cover lots of ground offshore searching for working birds, weedlines, and floating debris. Once you spot one of the above, you stop the boat and start fishing.I also enjoy diving for lobster. At the end of the day it doesn’t really matter if you come home empty handed or not, just being out there is the best part.”

Huey with one of her dolphin, aka mahi, caught off Boynton Beach, Florida

Having spent four years in Duluth, Minnesota while a student athlete at UMD, we wondered if she had sampled ice fishing or had gotten a chance to fish Lake Superior for salmon ot walleye. Huey replied “ I have not tried ice fishing haha standing in the middle of a lake is a bit unsettling for me. Down here I fish primarily saltwater, but I’ve always wanted to fish on lake superior but have never gotten the opportunity to. ​Fishing for me is a way of relaxing. It’s not so much about catching fish but more so the scenery you are surrounded by while you’re out fishing. I’ve seen lots of cool things out in the ocean because of fishing.”  So when we inquired as to her favorite memory in her fishing career, there was no surprise when she referenced dolphin again. Huey told us “ ​My dad let me play hooky in 1st grade and took me fishing. I caught a 25-pound dolphin and its currently mounted on my wall.”

It seemed to Cetacean Nation that Meghan was a  “dog person”, and we had seen photos and commented on her handsome hounds. She confirmed this saying “​I’m a huge dog person, I love animals in general. I have two Doberman Pinschers, Roxy and Riley. Roxy is 3 years old and Riley is 4 years old. They are true brother and sister but are from different litters. They are my little buddies.” She then added a very cool and surprising comment “Also I have a pet parrot He’s older than I am He’s an African grey (named) Alex!”

Huey continued to speak about her two dogs and explained “Dobermans are one of those breeds that have a bad reputation. In my experience, every Doberman I’ve met has been super sweet and affectionate, including my two pups. Dobies are loyal, intelligent, and very loving dogs. Roxy and Riley are practically two big babies.They just want to be cuddled and loved at all times. there are even times where they sit on my lap as if they were a lap dog. They are Velcro dogs, they want to be by your side ALWAYS hahaha! My two in particular can be quirky too. They are my two buddies and I love taking them on adventures. Just like with any dog breed, majority of it is how they are raised. Roxy and Riley were socialized and trained from the very beginning. My dogs look mean but they are the biggest lovers and would only step up if someone tried to hurt their family, just like any other dog breed.” Cetacean Nation wholeheartedly concurs with the nature vs nature aspect of dog behavior, basing some of our opinions on experience with German shepherds and pit bulls. 

Alex, Huey’s African Grey parrot!

Last year Cetacean Nation saw both Jess Koizumi & Shenae Lundberg return to the Whale after a couple of years away from the game. Meghan is still young, even by athletic standards, so we had to ask if she had any thoughts of returning to the ice. .She revealed “​As much as I’d love to continue playing, I have decided to hang up my skates due to injuries, and to start the next chapter in my life. Hockey will always be a part of me and I am grateful for all it has given me but I’m looking forward to this next chapter of my life.” In the case of Meghan, hockey's loss is medicine’s gain.

As we were wrapping things up with Huey, we asked if she had any thoughts on the struggles of the Whale to secure their first win of the season. She offered this insightful reply  “Slumps are part of the game. Much easier said than done, but the main thing is staying positive. Move on from the losses and focus on the next game. Think in the moment. Maybe even tweak up things such as line changes.” We thank our amazing former #43 Meghan “Huey” Huertas for sharing with us her transition from chasing hockey pucks to chasing her dreams of becoming a physician. We think that Doctor Meghan Huertas has a pretty cool ring to it! And we know that even years from now, under that long white coat, Huey will always be wearing a hockey sweater, Fins Up Forever #43!

Huey with her two handsome Dobies, Riley & Roxy!