Maggie LaGue, #9 Photo courtesy of RMU Athletics

Maggie LaGue #12 Photo courtesy Connecticut Whale


 “Somethin' tells me it's all happening at the zoo  
  I do believe it, I do believe it's true "  Paul Simon

“With as many birds as there are in the sky, it's supposedly more rare to be pooped on by one than it is to win the lottery” Stacey Wenzel

So, you may well wonder, what the connection is between these two quotes, and hockey? And Cetacean Nation has the answer for you, as revealed by one of our new defenders, Maggie LaGue! It was recounted to us in this amusing anecdote, as.we were discussing Maggie’s favorite memory from her career at Robert Morris University, and we discovered

“I think my favorite athletic moment was definitely winning the CHA’s (College Hockey America Tournament) That was probably one of the coolest experiences, just the whole play-off weekend is just something that is really special. I think from that, one of my favorite off ice memories was the year we won, we went to the Buffalo Zoo during our off day. We had the first round bye, so we went to the Zoo, and just saw a bunch of animals, we were basically the only group of people there and it’s freezing, because it’s Buffalo, in March. So we’re walking around, and one of my teammates, Amber Rennie, got pooped on by a bird." She laughed and added "Everyone was like: That’s really good luck when that happens! And, we won two days later, it was just so funny! Such a fun, fun weekend, oh my gosh, it was hilarious. It was such a fun weekend, it goes by so fast, it’s crazy!"

Maggie continued "I used to do this thing with one of my teammates, she was actually my roommate, Sarah Quaranta. In the Buffalo Zoo, (Maggie paused, laughed and said "I don’t know, what’s up with the Zoo?) And then continued "but  I grabbed a stick off the ground and we would pretend to interview each other during the experience. Just like talk about the animals, and it was so hilarious. I think it is filmed somewhere! We had our media person there, who was unbelievable. She made this like twenty minute highlight video of everything. It was so funny, it was awesome. It’s on YouTube, you can find it! "

It was here that we discussed the fact that these zoological components  needed to be properly acknowledged. Maggie thought that “Every Hockey Team Should Go To The Zoo” might be an interesting title or reference! or  “Maggie Lague: Zoo Enthusiast” We liked them both, so, we used them both!

So as we have already found out, Maggie knows her way around a storyline and punch line as well as the blue line. Maggie hails from Barre, Vermont, and when we caught up with her there on a pretty nice day it seems, she immediately brought us up to date on the weather. .
 “We’ve got some really nice weather this week, so it’s awesome up here, no complaints. We had a snowstorm last week (second week of May) Snow, like four inches, it was terrible. We always do a little bit with Vermont, you kind of know that something like that is going to happen But it’s always just disappointing when it still does. But it’s always the best to have a day off in May because of snow It’s cool for the first little bit, but then you hate it!"

We asked Maggie how, and exactly where, she was dealing with pandemic. She explained

“So I am currently living in my house. We’ve just been in this house for six or so years but it’s still probably just two minutes away from where we used to live, so we didn’t move very far. I am working remotely for my company right now in my sister’s bedroom, so that’s where I’m at!" she said laughing. "So yeah, trying to stay sane, and get outside now with this really nice weather. So things are starting to open up a little bit but, I think it’s going to be pretty gradual, and I have no real need to go anywhere quite yet. But I think after a little bit, I might have to break out at some point."

We also asked Maggie at what point she would normally be at, in her off season training, and how that’s been effected. She replied

"So I guess around this time, around May, is usually a good time to start just getting back into it, getting more focused on that. So with the pandemic, there are no gyms that are currently open right now, so I have some dumbbells and stuff at home so I’m just trying to get creative, and get hockey specific with that. Even though it’s the big movements that a lot of hockey players do, like squats, bench presses, all that, I’m trying to just improvise with what I do have. Getting creative, and trying to get outside too, when it’s nice, because it can be pretty crazy just to be cooped up here. Yeah, just grabbing a mat and some pucks and just shooting outside too. So usually, in the next month or so, is when I would really be getting more into it, so it’s just like a gradual process. I’ve made the mistake before of going too hard the first day. And it just puts you out of commission for about a week! I remember when I had my shoulder done before my senior year, and my internship, which is where I’m still working, has a gym at the office and they have some machines. I got so excited I went down and just put on as much weight as I could, and went crazy. And I was so sore, legit for an entire week! I knew it was going to happen but I did it anyway, so I’ve learned to take it a little bit easier” she laughed.

Maggie’s injury was in the rotator cuff area, and she described it to us.
"I had a Type Four SLAP tear, so it was my superior labrum, anterior to posterior (SLAP) I had that due to a lifting injury actually, the summer of my junior year. And I ended up playing through it with a brace. I got surgery at the end of March, so that was like a six month recovery. It was tough. Being a girl I couldn’t like put my hair up, because I couldn’t get my arm above my head, so it was just really tough, trying to figure out the little things. Thankfully it was my left shoulder, so I was still able to sit in class and write and everything. But there were two guys on the men’s team at school who were injured at the same time, same type injury, and the three of us got them done. But both of theirs were on the right side, and I felt so bad for them, they couldn’t write or do anything. So I guess I’ll count my blessings where I have them,"

Cetacean Nation wondered when Maggie would normally be looking to get back,on the ice in the summer. She answered

“It’s different because the season has been pushed back a little bit. So I’m like: OK, I have some more time, which is great. But again, rinks aren’t quite open yet and I think people are saying mid-June or early July. I wouldn’t normally get on the ice until mid-June or July, so I’d probably be trying to get on there then. And there are a couple of people that I met through work that have some summer leagues and stuff, which is a great way to play the full length of the ice rather than just some skill stuff. It’s a ton of fun, I can play with family and friends. That’s something that I really look forward to and I’ve really enjoyed. So I’m just really hopeful that things open up, because it’s really hard to train for hockey when you can’t skate that much."

Maggie just mentioned her internship, so we asked her to tell us about that and where she was working. She explained

"I’m a financial analyst for a company called National Life Group, and we deal in selling life insurance and annuities. But my role is not involved in sales, I work in a department called Distribution Finance. And in my sub team in that department we help support one channel of our distribution. So we support them with any needs that they have financially. So I do a lot of reporting requests, analyzing numbers that hey have questions with. It’s a lot of investigation work, which I really like, And development and innovation for new processes, which I find is pretty fun. I don’t think I would have said that about myself, but it’s weird where life takes you. So I was an intern in this department as well, going into my senior year of college, and didn’t want to work anywhere else within the company, and they made it work. So I’m coming up on my one year full time anniversary next month (June), it worked out really well, it’s a really awesome company, and I have a fantastic team. And they were so awesome and supportive and flexible with my going on this journey and everything. So I definitely owe a lot to them. They were psyched when I told them about it (signing with the Whale), like getting merch and everything, it’s really cool! They’re pretty awesome, and I really couldn’t picture myself anywhere else right now"

Maggie continued

"I’m excited to keep working remotely, and fortunately I’m getting a ton of practice right now. So when I get down to Connecticut it will be a super smooth transition. We have an office location in Montpelier, so it’s really nice, my commute to work is only about twelve minutes. We also have an office location in Addison, Texas but we have a ton of employees who work remotely across the country anyway. So we are all over, and a lot of the agencies we deal with are scattered all across the US, so we definitely try to have a presence in as many places as possible. Our company literally flipped to being remote overnight, 100% overnight. It was crazy, but we’ve really been able to do our day to day jobs remote. At first people were kind of hesitant with it, and obviously there’s a lack of face to face interaction, which is something I really struggled with at first. Because I’m a really social person, and positive, and all of a sudden I’m in four walls and can’t really interact with people that much. But thankfully we live in an era of great technology, so we are able to Skype and stuff, so that’s a little different, but we were able to adapt pretty quickly. So during the season the plan is to work remotely and hopefully make a visit once a month or whenever I can, if we have a break. Just to get back up here and see people, because it’s always nice to be in touch, especially being a newer employee in my department. So that’s basically the game plan, they’re all on board!"  Cetacean Nation thought that was great that it sounded like we might have some new fans up in Vermont joining the Cetacean Nation Green Mountain Chapter!

Maggie LaGue #9 Photo courtesy RMU Athletics

Maggie also explained that she even spent a little time last season here in Connecticut, as a coach! She told us

 “I coached a U14 team last year, the Vermont Flames. We had a couple of games down in Connecticut, so I’m hoping if we’re around and they’re down there it would be awesome to get them to swing by and watch. It was interesting to be on the coaching side vs the playing side, and I had a lot of fun with that group. They’re just a great bunch of girls. I’m still in contact with many of them, and they’re all off and doing their prep school stuff or playing high school, so it’s pretty cool to see them evolve so quickly. We played against the Northern Lights at the International Skating Center, we actually played them quite a bit. And then we played the Hartford Wolfpack once, so that was mainly who we played in Connecticut, but we played all over New England . It reminded me of the good travel days, back in the day." She laughed and added "Thankfully those are, back in the day! The guy who runs the organization I’m part of is somebody that I would skate with in the summer too, and I used to play with his son on our boys team when I was ten or something. So I’ve been with him a really long time, so it’s been pretty cool to be on the coaching side with him."

As we talked about her coaching, the discussion came to include the amazing initiatives the NWHL, especially our Pod, has with our Little Future Draft Picks. Maggie was familiar, and revealed

“That’s such a cool thing! I’ve always been following and checking it out, and that’s such a cool thing to be able to do. And I know that make’s such a difference to younger girls who want to aspire to be like us one day. It’s so important just to keep them engaged and keep them wanting to play. That’s just kind of where you start to lose them. There may not seem to be light at the end of the tunnel for what they want to do, so it’s really cool to be able to give back like that. Especially in a smaller state like Vermont where it’s just not such a huge sport around here, it’s even more important to keep them engaged and keep them playing. And having fun with it too, I think that seems to get lost sometimes. Parents, coaches and peers can be so hard on young athletes, it sometimes takes the fun out of it. And if you don’t like doing it, why do it? But if you do love it, stick with it!"

Well said, and Fins Up to that! So that talk of young hockey players led us to ask how little Maggie got her own start in hockey, and how her early career developed. In explaining her hockey roots, Maggie revealed that they anchored quite an impressive family tree.

"My Dad played hockey at Norwich and St. Michael’s and then went overseas to Holland at some point, so he always played, and got my sister and I into it. My sister Kaitlyn is three years older than I am, and she ended up being a goalie. Which I was really jealous about, because I always wanted to be a goalie, but my Dad said it’s too expensive to have two of them." she laughed. "So she ended up playing at UVM (University of Vermont) but she had her hip done and ended her career a little bit early. But she ended up marrying the men’s goalie at UVM, so she lived vicariously through him I would say, so it worked out really well for her. That was really cool. So my Dad got us into it and after the first day of practice I hated it and didn’t want to do it. Which I don’t know, I don’t remember a whole lot from back then, but my Mom was like: You need to go and do it again for Dad, it would make him so happy! So we ended up going again and I guess I just totally stuck with it after that. He’s the biggest inspiration for making me still play, so I basically owe all that to him. I grew up watching Norwich men’s teams play, it’s an amazing school and an amazing program for both the men and the women, so it’s really cool to see them just blossom, and put players on the map and everything, especially through the draft and girls playing in the NWHL. It’s especially awesome for a small state like this and a small university. It really just helps put their name out there too!"

Maggie further explained “I have two cousins that play, they are twins actually. One, Nikki, is committed to Robert Morris, which I’m psyched about, and I hope she tears it up there. She’s also a D which is going to be awesome to just watch her play. And then her sister Allie is committed to Norwich and I’m so excited for her I can’t wait to hopefully catch a couple of home games if we’re ever around. So it’s really awesome for both of them. And I hope to train with them a little this summer too, we live about two minutes away from each other. No goalies though, so I can’t shoot on anyone, she laughed. Their Dad played at a Mercyhurst which is in the CHA (same as RMU), so we’re always joking about going to Mercyhurst and everything, just ties everywhere! "

Returning to her own career on the ice, the subject of the the Green Mountain Blades came up. Maggie exclaimed

"The Green Mountain Blades, oh my gosh, the best years of my life! So I played just youth hockey for the Barre Blades, which is just our Barre Youth Sports Association town team basically. I grew up playing there which is also where my Dad played so it was just an old rink, super awesome. I still go there from time to time. After a couple of years both my sister and I ended up finding out about this team, a boys team the Green Mountain Blades. So it was playing boy’s/coed hockey back then. So we went up there for a tryout, made the teams, and played there for three years, and I think she was the same, 2-3 years too. I’m still close with a couple of the guys from there which is awesome! It was based out of Burlington so it was a commute to practice on a weekly basis, but it was a ton of fun. My Dad was coaching and it was just such a great group. It was definitely one of the best times. I also did a couple of tournaments with the Vermont Flames, and they just recently became a winter team. But back then for summer hockey it was a great team to be a part of. The guy who runs it does a lot of skills stuff in the summers, so I would do that through their program as well. And after that, then the Vermont Stars is when I transitioned to playing girls hockey. I think I transitioned to playing girls around 11-12 years old, so U12 was when I started doing that, U12 & U14. I tried playing boys as long as I could, but they lowered the checking age. I think it was my first year of checking, and they were probably early bloomers compared to me and they were really big and it was just kind of scary. That was when it got more scary to play, versus fun, so that was when we made the transition over. But boys hockey was amazing for developing and keeping a competitive edge."

That was a pretty interesting youth hockey background,  but when high school and prep school time rolled around, it really got interesting. And a little complicated. But Maggie sorted it out for us as follows.

"A very unique high school experience! So, my freshman year I actually transferred to Rice High School which is in the Burlington area, to play a year with the Rice prep school team. So that was just a total transfer out of my current school to that high school. But after my freshman year is when NAHA (North American Hockey Academy) actually located back to Stowe, because the year before they were up in Jay Peak. So they came back, and the way it worked was this. I would go to my local high school for the month of September basically. Then pretty much dis-enroll, and then transfer over to NAHA. So we would just pack up and live there from October to the middle of March. And then once the season was over, we would pack up and leave, from play-offs. So wherever play-offs were, a lot of people just had their flights home from there. So we would just come home afterwards, and I would always take two or so weeks off and just hang out. And then basically re-enroll into my local high school for the remainder of the year!”

Maggie was a Captain at NAHA and helped the Winterhawks win two JWHL Championships and a 2014 Challenge Cup title, during which she was named she was named an All-Star. She also was selected to four USA Hockey National Player Development Camps. But her favorite high school memory was actually off the ice. She recounted

"NAHA is a very unique place.You get there your first year and you hear about these traditions that we all do. So it’s something that still goes on, which I think is super awesome. We usually had something like a talent show, and skits. We would put on these skits at the end of the year, which was just the funniest thing. It was so awesome! You know, you plan it for like a month, and it was always the younger team impersonating the older team and vice versa, and it was so funny! It was so awesome, I think that is one of my favorite memories about that place! I think that there are probably videos, but gosh they’re probably buried in a deep, dark hole so no one will ever see them!" She laughed and continued  "But a lot of it is just stuff we remember, and oh my gosh, it was just like laughing until you were crying basically, watching these things. It is so awesome, so funny. I really hope they still do it, I really think they do! It was just one of the greatest times!"

Maggie had mentioned the local public school she attended, and that was Union High School District No. 32, commonly referred to as U-32 High School. It is located in East Montpelier, and is the regional high school for several central Vermont towns. No hockey there, but Maggie had a terrific career on the lacrosse field, that culminated in winning the State Championship. In that game, the U-32 Raiders girls lacrosse team fell behind early, but were led to victory by their captain, Maggie LaGue, who scored six goals in the win over rival Chelsea. We wondered if she had considered bringing those skills to RMU as well and she explained

"I played lacrosse for U-32, so that’s where I would spent most of my spring honestly, was just playing lacrosse, which is a great sport. When I went to Robert Morris University one of the media people there my freshman year had actually covered some of my lacrosse games up here in Vermont. So we both ended up down there without really knowing each other which was so funny. I thought about playing lacrosse at RMU, and would have loved to. A lot of people can do it, which is amazing, and absolute kudos to those athletes. But I was just sort of worried about injuries and such running on turf and everything. So I just enjoyed the spring with my hockey teammates, having the spring a little more mellow and just focusing on training and taking a break from hockey, which everyone needs at that point. But if people can do it, go for it, it would be a lot of fun. But I just needed to chill from competitive sports for a month or two and just enjoy time with my teammates Because those four years just absolutely fly by." 

Maggie as a prep school star at the North American Hockey Academy Photo courtesy of NAHA

So when it came time to pursue her education and athletic career on the collegiate level, how was it that Maggie chose RMU, we asked..

“Kind of a funny story too, gosh it just sounds insane sometimes. I was getting to the point of looking at schools and everything around junior year. And that was when the rule was that on September 1st your junior year, the communication lines could totally open, so you’re going from there. I don’t even know what the rules are now, they’re changing all the time, it’s crazy, I can’t keep up with it. So I was going down to look at Penn State and Robert Morris on the same weekend. Hit one on one day and hit the other the next day, and then fly home. We had the flight and everything figured out, and the night before, my coach at NAHA texted me and said Penn State just committed a defenseman for your year. Basically, don’t even both going because they have that spot filled. So I told my Dad and said: I don’t even want to go to RMU, I don’t even know what that is, I just won’t be interested. But he was like: We already have the flight, so we’ll just go anyways. And so we got down there, and I think we were just there and back in a day, it was a very quick trip. But down there I absolutely fell in love with it. The coaching staff, and the campus was awesome, and I needed to get out of Vermont I think, and explore something a little bit different. Going to school near a city was so much fun, I miss that place like crazy. So that’s kind of how I got there. It’s kind of crazy that I wasn’t really into it, then all of a sudden: it’s like: Nooo, just kidding. You actually love this place, you’re going to end up here! So it worked out really well. It was pouring rain that day too, so we drove around. Classic, right? I’ve learned that in Vermont you get snow and in Pittsburgh you get rain. So when we got down there it was pouring rain and we just drove around campus."

She laughed and added, "That may be why I liked it, I didn’t have to walk anywhere!  So even with the pouring rain, I was like: This place is so awesome. It’s just a great university, and athletes are a really huge core of the student body. And everybody kind of knows you a little bit. Not so much in an untouchable way, you’re just so linked to everybody through athletics. It’s so be in a smaller community and just actually feel a part of it versus a bigger campus, that’s just how I felt about it. I’m sure other people who go to the bigger campuses feel totally different, but for me that was just awesome, it was a great experience. And the students are so involved in it too, so we had our own RMU Sentry Media, run by students, and led by students. We had students film our games and everything, So it was just really cool to go to class like on a Monday and your like: Oh, you were at my game this weekend, and just to form those connections was awesome, they did a really good job". We offered the opinion that in all smaller school, maybe more people realize being a student athlete is not all rah-rah She agreed "Definitely. Lots of blood, sweat and tears, screws, and whatever else they have to put in your body to keep you together. I did that a couple of times too: Like you’re so lucky that you have it figured out. And I’m like yeah, but we worked really hard to get there, so like maybe a little luck, bit it’s not all that."

Maggie hit the ice flying for the Colonials, and was fifth in the CHA in assists as a freshman, and began her amazing accumulation of blocked shots with 80 that season, good for eighth in the nation, and was selected to the 2016 CHA Rookie All-Star Team. And by the time she skated her last shift for RMU, she held the school’s all-time record for defenders, with 79 assists and 92 points. And Maggie never neglected her off ice time in the classroom, and that has helped her directly in her current career. She explained

"I’m a Finance major with a minor in Accounting, but I didn’t love the accounting, I just did it for the minor. i was choosing between Finance and Accounting until my sophomore year, then decided to stick to a Finance, I just liked it more, so Ingraduatec from the Business with that. I worked out really well (for her job) Just the right place at the right time, and they had the position open. I was really nervous because I didn’t know if I’d like Finance, or like the field, or figure out what I want to do with it. This position in this company is so awesome, it just worked out really well. Even with this whole (pandemic) situation, just still having job security is really something I’m thankful for too. It’s something a lot of people are obviously struggling with, and so just being able to still have a position is really awesome". 

We mentioned that her bio at RMU stated that Maggie would graduate with an

 “...impressive community service record following her work with the Autism Society of Pittsburgh during “Teddy Bear Toss” events. She led a collection of 332 stuffed animals for the Autism Society of Pittsburgh as part of the team’s third annual Teddy Bear Toss game. LaGue also helped her senior class raise over $3,200 for various organizations as part of the team’s first Mental Health Awareness Series.”

Maggie achnowledged

 “We just empasized a lot of service leadership and community work, and we had a Big Sister-Little Sister Program that we did through Pen’s Elite Program. It’s an awesome, fantastic program. So we had a little sister technically that we would stay in touch with, and have at games sometimes, which was so cool, and so fun. I think they really enjoyed it too. Our Assitant Coach at the time Chelsea Walkland, who is now at Colgate, she really spearheaded that, and did a really fantastic job with it. It was something we all really enjoyed and looked forward to. So that was one thing that really sticks out to me. And with the Autism Society, I have family members who are effected with autism, so it was something that hit really close to home. And it was 100% a team effort and we all did a really great job with it I think. We did the “Teddy Bear Toss”, that we first did my sophomore year, when our Captain was diagnosed with cancer actually. And she really led this whole thing, and it was one of the highlights of my college career without a doubt. So it was something we tried to keep going, and just benefit different communities within the greater Pittsburgh area. It was really fun, and really cool". 

We asked a follow-up on the young player (Rikki Meilleur) who was the cancer victim, and Maggie attested "She is an amazing person! She was our captain that year and she only missed a couple of games I think for surgery. We won CHA’s that year, and she was on the ice with us the whole way. She’s probably one of the toughest people a I’ve ever met, and such an inspiration.All of us say she was one of our greatest leaders of all time. So, she’s fantastic “

Having read this far, you will not be surprised that Maggie had some amusing anecdotes for us when we asked her to talk about what exactly a Teddy Bear Toss was, and what exactly did 332 stuffed animals look like?

“It was funny! The first year we did it, we were so worried about scoring a goal, we were freaking out! And we didn’t score until the third period. So that has just been a constant fear ever since. And I think if we didn’t score, our coach would have been: No way, you’re never doing this again! So that was fun while it lasted, and ever since then that’s just been like a thought in the back of your mind: Oh my gosh, who’s gonna score? Who’s gonna do it first? So we ended up donating ( the stuffed animals) and just kind of bringing it in big bunches to this society that helps families with kids effected by autism. A lot of autistic kids are really in tune with sensitivity to touch and feel,. So I think that having something that is soft and pliable for them was hopefully something they really enjoyed, something that was really cool. Being on the ice when those bears start flying is a pretty cool experience. Just don’t get hit" she laughed. 

Maggie further explained “Basically every fan can either bring a brand new bear, or in a lot of cases they can be purchased at the door in lieu of a ticket or something, or you can make a donation, So all fans have brand new bears, and as soon as the home team scores, their first goal, and the key is the home team, once they score that first goal you can just let the bears fly! A bear hat trick! We were in MInnesota actually when they had theirs and they scored and they had quite a few more fans than we did so, so that was pretty cool to see, either way. If your on either side of it, it goes to a greater cause and that’s why we play the game. It was really special, and that was kind of the same with the Mental Health Awareness game too. That was really led by our Director of Hockey Ops Liam Cavanagh who is such an advocate, and so active for ending the stigma on mental health. He’s an awesome person to have as a friend, and now as a resource if anyone ever needs it. So that was another really cool game to be a part of, and they’ve really done such a great job with it since then. It’s such a huge part of the game now and such a big thing. I had a friend who actually passed away to suicide back when we were teenagers. His Dad is actually the one I skate with in the summer. He runs the program that I coach with. And I’m so close with that family. And it is such an important topic, especially among athletes and everything. It’s such a big thing to bring up, and be active in. So I am really excited to be a part of that within the NWHL."

Speaking of the NWHL, we asked Maggie if she had been assigned a number or picked one. She said "No, and no. Sadly :) Kaycie’s got #9, so I’ll just get over it. So I’ll need a new number, and I’m taking suggestions. Not sure how that process works. I’ll be happy with whatever honestly,"  Maggie added  “I remember hearing about some injuries last year on the Whale. Injuries suck, there’s no other way to put it, it’s so hard. Four defensemen is not a lot. We had that in college too. We had a couple of girls get hurt, and had to move a forward back. And that was tough, a couple of times when we were playing like that and got a penalty, which we were ruthless for, not me personally, I’m nice."

We mentioned that in fact she won a sportsmanship award, and she modestly ackowledged

"I didn’t even know that was an award. I think that was the first time they did that. I didn’t know if that was a compliment, or I needed to be tougher or something. Or need to fight somebody. I won’t do that, though. I think that part of it too, is the difference between just being physical, and being dirty. You kind of get older and mature a bit, and realize there’s no need for that in the game or anything. If your game is more physical, it’s faster and it’s more fun. I’m glad to see there’s more emphasis on that it seems versus just penalizing someone just to do it. One of our defensemen, Kerstin Welsh is 5’10 or 5’11” off ice and on ice she’s just a beast out there. And you know, you get your name out there once for a penalty, and they (the refs) kind of keep their eye on you just because you are a bigger player. So that’s always something we had to deal with which is just a pain.I always had the mindset that if anyone does anything to me, then sure, or a teammate, but never try to initiate anything. If you’re in the box, you’re not playing, and that’s no fun"

We asked Maggie to breaK down her game a little more for us, and she told us

  "I think for me I just try to be really consistent, and be someone who can be relied upon in any sort of situation. So for hockey sense, just heads up player who knows when to jump in and when not to. Always looking for teammates, but not scared to drive the net if I need to. A lot of my goals in college were actually scored around the crease, which is just very bizarre. I think just stay at home, but ready to produce when I have the chance. I’m somebody who has a lot of fun, I would always dance on the bench, and have time with teammates. By senior year you realize this is potentially it, especially with this certain group. So just letting loose and having fun, definitely made me play a lot looser, but bear down when I needed to. Definitely just like to have fun!"

Continuing, she explained  “I talked to Colten about the freedom to have creativity, and I try to teach that to the girls I coach too. Just because you are a certain position doesn’t necessarily mean you are tied down to be specifically right there.Having room for creativity is so huge, and just makes you super valuable, to be put anywhere at any given time. When I play summer hockey and stuff, I just try to play forward. I think it’s fun to just dangle around people, with whatever hands I’ve got going on that day. Just helps you learn different positions and that helps you a lot defensively too. Trying to get into a forward mind, of where they want the puck, and where they’re going to be . So I definitely recommend that for younger players. The more you can learn. Maybe don’t play goalie unless you want to block a lot of shots, then feel free. But definitely just learning the different positions is just super helpful. In many games, being more offensive, trying to stick handle or deke, something you’re not comfortable with, you can practice it. You get more comfortable and that’s something that can translate in games and makes you more of a threat. Also, I definitely played a lot on the power play and penalty kill. Definitely was more of a quarterback on our power play units, which is probably where a lot of my assists came from, because I had a lot of amazing teammates who could put the puck in the net, which is awesome. Just watching a lot of hockey helps that too. Just being able to adapt to very many scenarios I guess. So definitely I played a lot on special teams, which I always think are pretty fun."

Before we wrapped things up with Maggie, we asked her if she wanted to say a few words about her year as a member of the PWHPA. And her reply was even handed, thoughtful, and lacked rhetoric or regret.

"I think for me it was just finishing up playing, I hadn’t heard much about the upcoming season or anything. I had former teammates reaching out on this and it was really just a weird position to be in, because I didn’t have first hand experience with either group. I hope that things get resolved and they can kind of get what they want to out of it. But for me it just kind of got down to the point of I really want to play, and play on a consistent basis. And have a sense of a team and be a part of a group that has fun, so I think that was kind of the turning point for me. Again, I have a bunch of teammates who are in both scenarios, and labels of whoever they are part of aside, they’re still great people and I don’t look at them differently. It’s just that for me, my life is going in a different direction and I felt that I’m now in a place where I can really 100% commit to playing for the Whale, and making an impact when I get there. Just feeling really excited about it and just so thankful that they were still interested and everything. I just definitely felt it was meant to be, and has really worked out for the best. Final word, I hope that they accomplish what they need to accomplish. And Inknow that the NWHL is making some pretty amazing strides and I’m really excited to be a part of it. We can’t play forever, so it was really important for me just to be somewhere where I mattered. A group that had the right thing going and havingfuture teammates already reach out and everything, just makes it feel like a second home already. I’m just so thrilled, and I can’t wait to finally be a part of it. Just so thankful that I have the opportunity to be a part of it."

And we think that the fans of Cetacean Nation will be thankful and happy as well, once  our new defender, Maggie Lague hits the ice.  Thoughtful, humorous, tough, skillful and a Zoo Enthusiast, to be sure. Fins Up Maggie, see you in Danbury!

#12 Maggie LaGue