Alyssa in action for the Whale during Season One. Photo by Michelle Jay

ALYSSA WOHLFEILER: THE LONG ROAD HOME


“I've been everywhere, man I've been everywhere, man. Of travel I've a'had my share, man, I've been everywhere”.   Johnny Cash

The newest member of our rather exclusive “Once And Future Whale” contingent  is Alyssa Wohlfeiler, who returns to the Pod for Season Six. Alyssa was there from day one in NWHL history, as an Original Whale (OW). Alyssa’s first goal for the Pod came in their second ever game, on an assist from former Northeastern teammate #10 Lindsay Berman. More on the history that those two share a bit later. But to start things off, we’ll dial it back to an event that Alyssa described as something “ I don’t lead with very often, and I don’t share it that much.” So, we are going to share it for her. During  our interview, we asked Alyssa if there was anything about her that most fans wouldn’t know. Here is her reply, and I think you’ll understand why we led off with it.

 “Probably a lot of things” she laughed. "But one thing, I was actually in a McDonald’s commercial with Wayne Gretzky. I was I think, nine years old, so here’s how it unfolded. I went to Canada, British Columbia, for a hockey school. A summer hockey school, it was like two weeks long. I think I was the only girl there, which was normal. One of the players there, his Dad was Gretzky’s agent. And he started talking to my parents, and he told them: I’m Wayne Gretzky’s agent and he’s filming a McDonald’s commercial, and they want girl hockey players. So would your daughter be interested? And they were like: I guess, why not?n So I was part of a group of kids, young hockey players, who were in the commercial. Gretzky was one of the nicest guys. There was one scene where we were sitting in the bleachers, and we all had a different McDonald’s product in our hand, and I had some fries. I ended up sitting next to him, and he started stealing my fries! "she laughed. "It was not part of the commercial, he was just stealing them! We weren't even filming. I was like: Dude! And he just looked over and started laughing and said: I hope you don’t mind, I’m stealing your fries! In my head I’m like: You’re Wayne Gretzky, what can I say? So it actually only aired in Canada. My parents have an old VHS tape of it. It was fun, I got to miss school for two days. And just to see the way they do things, like watching him do takes over and over. They would say, as he shot the puck, hit this spot, hit this spot, and he would nail it every single time, he was amazing! It was at a rink in Irvine, California. I don’t lead with that very often, I don’t share it that much. Because then people are like: I want to see it! And like I told you, I just have a VHS and no one has a VCR anymore. I’m sure my parents will put it on a disc someday. They are always telling me I should use that more. I don’t know, I just feel like kind of a dork. I only usually confess to that when someone asks a question like: What’s something people don’t know? And I’ll say: I usually save this one, but I guess I’ll use it now.” Pretty cool story, but as you’ll see, Wayne Gretzky actually created an even more seminal moment in Alyssa’s career.

Alyssa mentioned Irvine, California, and she is one of our California Girls, and hails from Saugus, California. Saugus, which is named after Saugus, Massachusetts is about 45 minutes northwest of Los Angeles on Interstate 5. Ironically, as you will see, Alyssa spent many years near Saugus MA, which is about 20 minutes NE of Boston. So Cetacean Nation wondered if Alyssa was happy the Dodgers had won the Series or still sad because Mookie Betts left Boston?

 “Honestly, I didn’t even realize the World Series was happening " she replied "My Mom was like: The Dodgers won! And I was like: Well what did they win? And she said: The World Seies! And I didn’t even realize that was happening. It’s funny, I used to be a huge, huge, sports fan, where I knew everything about every sport. But it’s just kind of waned down the last few years. And I really only care about hockey, so..she laughed. "I really don’t care that they won. I don’t care that the Lakers won, it’s whatever to me. I’ve never been a big Dodgers fan to begin with, so if anything, I’ve adopted the Red Sox, because they are such a big thing in Boston and New England. So I was excited when the Sox won. They won my freshman year of college, and that was cool, but as of now I didn’t really care."

So Cetacean Nation thought maybe Alyssa would be more interested in a Bruins vs Kings match-up. But she quickly corrected that misconception.

“No, no! I hate the Kings, I’m a Ducks fan! Oh man, I hate the Kings, hate ‘em! I live closer to LA, but I don’t know. I just kind of grew up a Ducks fan, when I first started hockey. Basically, I started hockey because Gretzky got traded to the Kings, and  everyone started playing hockey. (There is the Gretzky connection again) All the kids, we were all playing street hockey and everything because Gretzky was so big. So I guess when I was young, maybe five or six, I was maybe a Kings fan. But when I got older and could kind of think pretty much for myself, I became a Ducks fan.”

Alyssa continued “Neither of my parents played hockey, or had any interest in hockey. It’s funny, the only hockey game my Mom had ever watched before I started playing was the 1980 Miracle Game. It shows the impact of that game. They were never into hockey. I have older male cousins, and they started getting into hockey, And you know, when you are five, six, or seven. you kind of just try every sport.They got into hockey, and I just did everything they did. And immediately, I was hooked. I didn’t want to do anything else and that was it. I played other sports as I got a little bit older, but all I wanted to do was play hockey. So I kind of specialized pretty early, but it was 100% my choice, it wasn’t my parents pushing me or anything. If anything they wanted me to play other sports too. But if I was playing other sports, I was thinking about hockey.” 

We knew that Alyssa had spent some significant time in the Cal Selects program, serving as a captain on a couple of their teams and had averaged better than a point a game. We asked her about those years and she told us

"I played there for eight years. When I was growing up there weren’t many girls teams. There were three in the whole state of California. So my first girls team on ice was called Team LA, where I played with Jess Koizumi (future Whale teammate) . I’ve actually known Jess Koizumi since I was about eight. And after that team folded, I jumped over to Cal Selects when I was eleven and played with that organization until I graduated from high school and went off to college. I would say with Cal Selects, we were more skilled than with my high school team. And, we played against boys teams too during the season, if we weren’t playing in an all girls tournament. So we played against boys teams, but there was no hitting, so those games were more skilled. So when I would transition over to my high school (boys) team once a week, those games were obviously a lot more physical. More testosterone flowing in those games" she laughed. "In California the girls teams were few and far between. They’re all over the place here on the East. I loved it. It made me a better player, I wouldn’t have changed a thing. I think more girls should do it, play boys as long as they can. Women’s hockey is a lot more physical than people expect or give credit for. At Saugus High, it wasn’t technically school sanctioned. It was a coed team, but I was the only girl in the league. It was officially like an outside entity, outside league. All the high schools had it, and we played at our local rink. And the stands would be packed, there would be over a thousand people there. That was like the big thing in high school, the Monday night hockey games. That was the popular thing to do. I loved the hitting, it’s really a shame we can’t do it in women’s hockey. I would have a lot less penalties, that’s for sure. But I loved playing with the guys, I loved the physical game. I never shied away from it, it never bothered. “

She continued “But we actually won the National Championship twice with Cal Selects. We won it with the 12U in 2001 when I played, and we won with the 16U in 2005, that was our second title. In 200, we had played Assabet Valley in an earlier tournament, the Connecticut Polar Bear Tournament around Christmas. And they killed us. It was 6-0, and it should have been 20-0, but our goalie was unbelievable. I think the shots were like 62-3! Then a few months later we beat Assabet in the National Championship game 1-0 ! Our goalie was a stud, her name now is Jenny Scrivens, and she played with the Riveters the inaugural season. She didn’t face another 62 shots in the Championship Game, but she faced a lot. I’ve got to say, she’s the best goalie I’ve ever played with. We just had a really good group. The coach that year was one of my favorite coaches ever, and he’s actually the same coach we had when we won the second National Championship. He knew what he was doing. Hockey in California is way better than people give ir credit for. The programs they have out there now are awesome. A lot of guys make it to the NHL. But usually as Californians we start off with roller hockey. Roller hockey is more flashy I guess. There are more tricky moves and stick handling, a lot more creativity. You’re playing four on four, and there’s no offsides, and no icing. So there’s plenty of room, and it really lets you be creative and just do whatever you want. You can always tell the California guys on the ice because they have that creativity that they translate over to ice hockey. “

Alyssa in action vs the Beauts in Season One. Photo courtesy of Tyler Sizemore

We were curious if Alyssa had always been a forward, and if she had any preference about where she skated on the ice. She revealed

“Actually, I was always a forward, but I did play goalie. I was never solely a goalie, but sometimes I would just play goalie on another team. But I would always still have my forward season. One year the team needed a goalie and I filled in. I actually enjoyed doing it, but mostly because it gave me a goalies perspective, to help me be better as a forward” she laughed. "So I did that for a little while when I was younger as the team needed it. But going into high school, that was done. Because I just couldn’t take a risk on getting injured,. Luckily the only other sport I played in high school was golf, so I didn’t have to worry about any injuries worth that. I actually prefer left wing, because being a right hand shot on the left wing it means your stick is towards the middle, so it gives you a better angle on the net. I have no problem playing right wing, but I never play center. I haven’t played center since freshman year of college. I try to model my game after a power forward and just use my size to get to the net and try to piss off the other team, and do whatever I can. I would say I’m on the taller side in women’s hockey so that definitely helps.”

Alyssa mentioned playing golf at Saugus High School, and we wondered how that got started.

 “My Dad’s a big golfer, that was his main sport growing up. He was born and raised in Arizona, so golf was pretty popular there. Me and my brother are pretty athletic and can pretty much play any sport, so he put us into golf. So at 8, 9, 10 years old, I didn’t play that much. Then one summer in high school I was playing with my cousin, and he said: You should go,out for the golf team. And I said I don’t know, but then I just figured: Why not? So I went out for the team my sophomore year and was on varsity for three years.” They were pretty successful years, and Alyssa played well enough to earn selection to the Santa Clarita Valley All-Star team. And it was not all work on the golf course either. Alyssa and her teammate became known for their Tiger Woods style arm pumps. And even playing a few rounds barefoot golf. Alyssa explained “Me and another girl, her name was Wynn Shatkus, we were the same grade. We would just kind of have fun with golf. She was more reserved, and I would be the one to say like: Hey, let’s try this, let’s do this! Let’s play nine holes as fast as we possibly can, and just kind of goof around like that. Golf is so mental, you’ve just got to like joke around every once and awhile, and have fun with it. We would be just just messing around, and I’d try to get Wynn to do anything crazy. She wouldn’t do it on her own."she laughed. "We played barefoot, we played nine holes in a hour. Like running to our ball and hitting it, and run after it to the next hole, So i don’t know, I’d do a lot of stupid things and she’d just follow along, I guess." Fins Up to that, we think that sounds like a lot of fun.  Alyssa also weighed in on the synergy between golf and hockey, and offered “There’s a few factors. For one the swings are similar. Hockey you’re trapped in a rink and it’s cold, golf you’re outside in the nice weather. And it’s something hockey players can do in the summer and never have to worry about getting hurt and interrupting their hockey training or our season.”

Alyssa matriculated at Northeastern University, and she had a stellar career there on the ice for the Huskies. She scored 32 goals and added 39 assists during her career, earning team Most Valuable Player Award in 2011, and was a member of the Hockey East All-Academic Team, and served as the Huskies captain during that senior season. The day we spoke to Alyssa was a day she had scored a goal for Northeastern when she was in college. She recalled  “We were hosting two home games against Vermont my senior year on this date. I remember because that was parent’s weekend, so my parents were there for those games.” Cetacean Nation wondered how Alyssa came to choose Northeastern in the first place. She explained

“Actually two of my teammates on Cal Selects ended up committing to Northeastern. I wasn’t quite sure, I wasn’t sold on it. I wanted to go to a Midwestern school, so I was looking art some Minnesota schools, Wisconsin, schools like that, But I ended up going to visit Northeastern and I fell in love with Boston, and fell in love with the campus. Matthews Arena is just amazing, it’s hard to turn down skating in that rink everyday. So that’s how I ended up at Northeastern.” Alyssa had some great moments at Northeastern, including a shootout game winner in the Beanpot Tourney one season. Alyssa scored 71 points in her collegiate career, and roughly a third of her career goals were game winners. Cetacean Nation wondered what Alyssa’s favorite moments were at Northeastern, both on and off the ice, She revealed  “On the ice I would say, in my senior year we beat the #1 seed BU in the play-offs at BU, to make it to the Big East Championship game, And we were ranked Ithink fifth or sixth. We were not supposed to beat them at all. So we won that game 4-2 I think, and I had two of the goals. So we made it to the Hockey East Championship for the first time. We lost but.., she laughed . We lost against BC who had Kelli Stack and Molly Schaumburg who were Olympians, so it’s not like we lost to some slouch team.” We asked if there was any carryover when Alyssa and Kelli played together for the Pod in Season One. Alyssa laughed and said “Kelli’s won so much, she probably doesn’t even realize that she beat us and I was on the team. She’s got such a big trophy case, I don’t think she even batted an eye about it."

 For the second part of the question Alyssa replied “Shoot, off the ice? Man, what is appropriate to tell you I guess! she laughed.  “We always had fun team parties. II was my senior year, and I’m trying to think if it was an end of the year party or Halloween party. No, in fact it was a post season party. We had to dress up as someone else on the team. so that was fun. I was our goalie and I had the shirt that she wore every single game day, so I wore her shirt and I wore her glasses so that was fun, it was funny to see like other people’s perception of teammates and how they dressed. You’d get people who were like: I don’t dress like that! Or: Do I really look like that? So it was funny especially my senior year and the season was over, college career was over it was a lot of fun.”

Alyssa majored in criminal justice, but indicated in her Northeastern bio that she wanted to be a hockey coach someday. And it didn’t take long, as she joined her former Northeastern teammate Lindsay Berman behind the bench. Alyssa explained “Lindsay is actually one of my best friends, we are really good friends. And when I signed with the Whale for the inaugural season, she had just gotten the head coaching job at UMass Boston. So she called me and said: I just got the head coaching job, and I have one person in mind to be my assistant, so do you want it or not ? she laughed.  “And obviously I said yes, at this stage of my career you are the only person I would want to coach with. Because a lot of time when you’re an assistant, you can be just like a puck pusher. You don’t really have much responsibility and the head coach doesn’t really trust you, and you’re just there to set up pucks for the next drill. So I definitely didn’t want to do that, and that is why I said yes to her. Because I knew we would be co-coaches and she would give me free rein, which she absolutely did. We have a lot of the same coaching philosophies, so we just knew what the other person was thinking. We knew what the other person was going to do, and we never had took down the bench and be like: What are you doing, or what are you planning on doing, we just knew. And we ended up winning the conference championship that year, so it worked out well.” Fins Up to that!

Alyssa and Lindsay were both playing with the Whale that first season of coaching together. And in the Whale’s game #3 up in Buffalo, Lindsay broke her ankle, and had to coach from the bench. Alyssa commented “Yeah, she was on crutches, and she’d be on the bench with a s lip board, and she’d draw up the drills and I’d set them up or demonstrate them if I needed to and obviously answer any questions the girls had. It was her first head coaching job, and that was terrible that was her experience. She’s got her own team, her own program, she can run it the way she wants and the first month she’s got to be on the bench. I felt terrible, and I really wanted to be sure it was her team even though she couldn’t be on the ice. In that sense I tried to just do the minimum to help her, but to still let it be her team. Because I wanted her to have that experience, I definitely didn’t want to rob her of that. Us knowing each other so we’ll, I knew she was such an organized and prepared person, I knew she wasn’t just coming in and winging it. She had plans, she had systems she wanted to implement, the whole nine yards. I could trust her with that, I didn’t feel I had to pick up the slack in any way.”

Alyssa celebrating a goal during her career with the Northeastern Huskies. Photo courtesy Northeastern Athletics.

Cetacean Nation wondered if Alyssa was doing any coaching now, and she explained

"So I’m not coaching any specific team right now, I just help out around with the youth programs. A lot of the kids I’m coaching are like five or six. There’s one program that’s a little bit older, that’s a U14. So just helping the little kids literally to just learn to skate. And then eventually we put a stick in their hands, and we get them a puc. So we’re pretty much starting from scratch. We haven’t quite done that yet, but I enjoy it.”What about the use of those “walkers” for the beginners ?we wondered. “Basically it should be for kids who are literally just stepping on the ice, they’ve never been on ice skates before. I’m actually giving lessons to a kid, we just finishing up the third week, and when he started with me he had never actually touched the ice before. So his first week he was using that training tool, but by the second week, he didn’t need it anymore. The young kids pick it up so quickly, and they adapt so easily, that end up not using those walkers, those training tools, for very long. I haven’t heard a name for it, I’ve seen a lot of different designs, but I haven’t seen an official name for it. I does work well, because skating is so unnatural and unorthodox. So when kids first get on the ice they try to run or walk, and obviously you are not going to go anywhere. So we use that for them to hold onto and keep their balance while we show them actual skating strides, because it’s just so different.from a walking or running stride. Skating is the most important thing. Kids are like: When can I get a stick, when can I get a stick. And we say: No, you’ve got to learn the skating first, and be good at it first, because that’s really the baseline, Actually my first private coaching was with a figure skater. I was eight or nine maybe, when I first started getting lessons. So she would teach me how to skate, I wouldn’t have my stick, because figure skaters, their whole sport is based on skating.They don’t have a stick to worry about, they don’t have a puck to worry about, a ball, nothing, Everything they do is off of their skating, that’s why they are such great skaters. That’s why my first private coach was a figure skater, and helped me learn how to skate and get good with my edges, and using my edges and stride work.”

The CWHL was Alyssa’s first stop after college, and Alyssa played three seasons with the Boston Blades, along with future Whale Jess Koizumi, Kelli Stack, Nicole Stock, Anya Packer, Lindsay Berman, Molly Engstrom, GM Bray Ketchum, Micaela Long and Katrina Mrazova. We asked her about those years, and any memories of the then 16 year old Katka. She recalled

“I played for the Blades three years in the CWHL. We won a the Clarkson Cup in my second season, but unfortunately I pretty much missed the season. I had an injury, and some other circumstances that were part of it, personal family stuff. So we won, but I really wasn’t part of it, I didn’t even go to the Clarkson Cup Championship, which was up in Markham. I do briefly remember Katka, from the beginning of the year. She could not speak English, I remember that! We were were all like: What, she’s sixteen? Because obviously we were all out of college." Alyssa became more familiar with that phenomenon when she went to play in Europe. "It’s so, so true. There are some fourteen years olds, and you wonder : What am I even going say? This person hasn’t even hit puberty! I didn’t know how to talk to them! The style that European players play is easier for the younger girls to blend in. But in North America our style is a lot more physical, so a fourteen year old is not going to do too well.”  Speaking of Euros, during her successful career in the European leagues, Alyssa averaged better than a point a game. She played in Sweden, Germany, and in the Swiss League with Lugano where she played with our #26 Jordan Brickner. Cetacean Nation wondered how that all developed, and Alyssa replied “One of my good friends had played overseas in Russia my last year on the Blades. And after the season she took a big trip through Europe, and she was constantly sending me all these pictures. And I was like: Man, I’m gonna go do that. If I don’t do it now, I’m never going to do it. I was ready for a change. I had been in Boston for a while at that point, four years in college and then three years with the Blades. I just wanted something new, I just wanted something different. So it worked out pretty well. A lot of people don’t realize that me and Jordan Brickner go back from before the Whale. We played in Lugano together, we lived together, and I actually told her to contact the Whale. Because she was like: I don’t want to be done playing, but I don’t think I want to go back to Europe. So I said I’m signing with the Whale, do you want to try it? She said, yeah, sure. So she signed with the Whale and hasn’t left" she laughed “Hearing about the NWHL starting up, it was just too big of an opportunity to pass up. It was really something special to be part of the inaugural season of a brand new professional league, and I wanted to be a part of it.”

Alyssa had a very successful start to her her NWHL career. In Season One for the Whale she appeared in 17games, scoring three goals and registering four assists. But after that, it was back to Europe, and we asked about that decision. Alyssa explained

"After the Whale I went home to California for over a year. So I took a season off and personally I was just kind of lost. I didn’t know where I wanted to go next or what I wanted to do. I knew I wanted to still play, but I wasn’t sure how to go about continuing my career. So I took some time off and stayed at home, which I hadn’t done in a very long time. And then I actually played in Sweden for the second half of the season in the spring of 2018. So I have played in three different European countries and three different European leagues. My favorite part of living in Europe is the challenge. If you don’t speak the language you can’t assume that everyone speaks English. It’s a challenge of how do I get to the grocery store. Or if you’re traveling, the challenge of how you get to the train station, bus stop, or the airport. Kind of mapping out your jour journey before you go. I’ve always been independent, but that definitely makes you more independent. It just teaches you how to adapt, and just go with the flow of things and grow as a person, That’s really what I loved so much about it. As corny as it sounds, I would not be the person that I am today without those experiences. I wouldn’t trade them in for anything. People don’t realize what we have here in America because it’s the only place that you know. It’s normal to us, it’s a status quo for most people. But you go over to Europe and there’s so many other different cultural things that just really opens your eyes.Where you’re like: Oh, wow! Like tipping, you don’t tip at a restaurant. If you order a glass of water or a drink you never get ice. You have to ask for ice. It’s just interesting things like that. And if you order a small drink, it’s very small. Like here in America a small drink is 20 ounces, she laughed. Just little things like that it’s very different.”

Alyssa continued “You.learn to be more understanding of people with different backgrounds than you. And language barriers! If someone says something to you in English it may have a totally different meaning to us. But to them in their language, it means something else. The literal translation from their native language to English, doesn’t mean what they think it means, if that makes sense. It’s a different meaning to us. There are times Someone says something to you and you think: Wow, that was rude! But then you learn they just literally translated it and it just came out wrong. Or if you say something and they’re not laughing and you’re like: Uh-oh, what did I just say? So you just learn to be understanding more accepting. It’s fun though. Especially playing in Germany I really tried to learn the language so I can understand a little bit. I can text it decently, but man that is a tough language. It’s very backwards compared to English. So you just gained respect for people who speak English but it’s not their native language. Especially in Switzerland where they have four official languages: Swiss-German, French, Italian and Romanch, which is a derivative of Latin that only about 2% of the population speaks. You have a lot more respect for people when English is their fifth language.” “But I guess once you learn one it’s easier. Like when I was in Lugano, that’s the Italian part of Switzerland. And I was actually able to get around pretty well since I had taken four years of French in high school, and they are similar. So I was able to pick up some things pretty quickly. They say once you learn one language then the next one is easier, and the next one after that, it’s easier. They also start learning when they’re way younger and they’re immersed in it, especially in Switzerland where we were 20 minutes from the Italian border. So twenty minutes we’re in another country, a couple of hours north, we’re in Germany, a couple of hours east, we’re in Austria. They have so many countries that are easily accessible. Where for us, it’s only Mexico and Canada, that’s it. And in Canada, they speak English. Travel is so easy, plane tickets are cheap, train tickets are generally cheap. Especially in Switzerland, the trains are so nice. Switzerland is very beutiful, and it’s clean, it is expensive, though. But people there, money is not an object to them. Everyone there seems to have money.”

Alyssa added  “Having played in Europe, I’ve had fans tell me that they have specifically traveled to the U.S. just to be able to watch an NWHL game in person,” said Wohlfeiler. “When I was in California, I had another fan at a 5:00 am stick time tell me he watched games online. So the league is definitely reaching fan bases all over the world and it’s really exciting to think about the potential of women’s hockey right now. I think the biggest issue in women’s hockey in general is just marketing and exposure. I don’t think it’s salaries or conditions, or anything. I think it’s just marketing and exposure, and it we could just get that and kind of ramp it up, the rest will take care of itself. “ Alyssa’s next adventure however, brought her closer to home, as she returned to the NWHL last season to join the Boston Pride. She had a heck,of a season, and averaged better than a point per game for the Pride. Alyssa recounted  “We had a really good team, a really good group in the locker room, not just on the ice. It was a lot fun, we generally enjoyed each other’s company, we had good practices and everyone got along pretty well. So that translated to success on the ice, it was fun. I think we would have ended up doing pretty well in the Isobel Cup game especially since we would have had home ice advantage, but it would have been quite a game. I wouldn’t have been surprised if that game went into overtime or muliplebovertimes, I didn’t know what the format would have been. That would have been a really fun game, so it’s a shame we couldn’t play it. “ we mentioned that Alyss had also duplicated her four game scoring streak she had for the Whale in October 215, with another one last season with the Pride."

She added “It’s kind of weird not playing hockey in October. You’re always kind of counting down towards the end of the summer. Once it gets into the end of August and the beginning of September, you’re just so pumped to start the season. Being a hockey player for so long, your brain is just wired that way. Once the end of summer is that means hockey season is starting, so it’s weird to get here and it’s not here. It seems long, but it’ll go by quick, especially with the holidays. You can almost take out a week for Thanksgiving and a week for Christmas,”

Alyssa starting a rush up ice. Photo courtesy NWHL

We wondered how the pandemic impacted things for Alyssa heading into Season Six, and here is what she told us.

“I guess now I could call it a blessing in disguise, or even a silver lining to it. Because the weight lifting, the strength training and the weight room part has always been a strength of mine and what I enjoy the most. What I don’t enjoy is the cardio, and the conditioning. When the gym shut down, it just forced me to focus on the cardio aspect and the conditioning and aerobic capacity, because all you have to do is go outside, i would just go outside and do different methods of cardio and aerobic training, and so it actually worked out pretty well. We have such a long offseason, that you don’t need to be weight training immediately after the season is over. So I just worked on the cardio aspect for a few months and then by the time I was ready to get back in the gym, they were open again, so it actually worked out pretty well. I was in Quincy, Massachusetts until August, finishing out my lease. And now I’m here in Danbury. My parents live in Idaho now, so in July I went home and stayed with them for about a month.”

We also took this opportunity to ask Alyssa a few fun questions. You saw her interesting answer to one of them in the beginning of this interview. Here are her responses to our other queries:

Favorite Dunkin’ order:
“Hot chocolate! I don’t drink coffee or tea, I’ve never been a coffee or tea person. They definitely have the best hot chocolate! Hot chocolate with whipped cream, that’s my order."

Favorite Rink:

"It’s funny that you ask that, because I have played in so many different rinks. But there is no way I could not give Matthews Arena as my answer. It’s the oldest indoor rink in the world, it’s special. My heart will always be in Matthews Arena. It’s only something that Northeastern alumni can really appreciate, I guess. I played in some pretty cool rinks around the world, but can’t beat Matthews Arena."

Favorite golf course:

Alyssa considered this for awhile, and replied: "Well, it wasn’t my home golf course. My high school played on a course called Vista Valencia. But I really enjoyed a course called Robinson Ranch. It was a higher end golf course, and it is where I got my lessons, it’s in the hills of where I'm from. It’s tough, but there are nice views, it’s scenic, so I’d have pick that one.

Pregame superstition or routine:

“I don’t have any superstitions, but you do kind of naturally develop a routine when you get to the rink. Nothing too strict, I don’t like to have too many rituals because I don’t want to be controlled by them. Like if for some reason I can’t do something, I don’t want to be in the mindset of: I’m not going to be able to play well because I didn’t do this one tiny little thing. So my big thing is I get to the rink pretty early. I like to make sure that I have time to do whatever I decide to do. Hockey players do some really weird things, and I don’t do anything like that. But I don’t want to be rushed. I always love to play soccer. Usually each team has a group that likes to warm up with a soccer ball. That’s one of my favorites. Soccer was actually one of the first sports I played growing up. I was four or five, and it only lasted one season. I don’t know why this league decided to do this, but in the middle of the game they would pull us out and put us on the field next to the one we were playing against, and practice. And I was like: No! I have no idea why they did that. They would be like, OK, it’s your turn to go practice, and I’m thinking: No, I’m four, I want to run around and play the game! I’m not trying to make the National Team at four years old. That really turned me off to soccer. I told my parents I wanted to play the game, they didn’t let me play the game, so no more! The groups are pretty good, we had a good one in Boston. There were times we would have crowds. There would be people leaving the rink from the previous ice time who would stop and watch. But yeah, the soccer warm-up is always my favorite. So it’s funny, I’m a walking contradiction. You asked  about if I had any pregame rituals, and I say no, but I am actually a very routine person in normal life. I eat the same type of foods every day, have the same schedule every day. My friends make fun of me all the time but I don’t care. It’s totally normal to me, but friends will say: Do you eat the same things every day? And I say: Yeah, I guess I do. I’m a pretty simple person, and kind of a minimalist, So it just makes it easy. You eat the same things every day, your body knows what it’s getting, you know what you are going to get at the grocery store, you know what it is going to cost. That’s how I do it.”

Where does your #8 come from?

"Number 8 comes from a Duck’s player Teemu Salanne, he’s been my favorite for a very long time. I have a necklace with the #8 on it that I wear pretty much every day. He’s been my favorite, but unfortunately it’s a popular number so sometimes I’ve got to change it up, that’s why I wore #88, because #8 had already been taken. Two years ago in Germany I wore #80, that was all they had, the only number with an 8 in it. So I’ve got #8 for next season."

Any nicknames?

"Everyone in hockey either calls me Wolf or Wolfie. I’ve gotten Wolfenhauser, Wolfmeister, Wolfeo! she laughed. "Some people will have fun and make up their own nicknames, but it’s funny because if somebody does call me Alyssa, other people are like: Who is that? They just don’t know that’s me. Everyone in hockey pretty much calls me Wolf ot Wolfie.”We mentioned that when we interviewed our former #10 Lindsay Berman, she referred to Alyssa as Wolfie. Alyssa replied “It’s funny you say that, because she’s actually one of the people who never calls me that! She won’t call me that to me. She calls me Alyssa, or actually Lyss, which is my parents nickname for me! But if she’s talking about me to someone else in hockey, she’ll call me Wolfie, because that’s how I’m known, that’s when she’ll say Wolfie. But to me, she never calls me that, so that’s funny you say that. Actually in Switzerland, they call me Lupa, which is Italian for Wolf. Lupa, or Loops. One of my teammates was like: I’m going to call you Lupa. And I asked why, and she explained that was Italian for Wolf. I was like, OK, but what’s the German for wolf, and she was like: Voolf! (guttural pronunciation of wolf, which is the German word for wolf as it turns out) And I was, OK, let’s stick to Lupa, that’s fine, You don’t need to be growling every time you call my name. I guess outside of hockey I do prefer to be called Alyssa if it’s not a teammate, just because I like the separation. I’m in the rink, I’m there for hockey, Wolfie’s fine. But when I’m outside the rink I like to just separate myself from it and prefer to be Alyssa. It’s almost like two different identities.”

 As we wrapped up our conversation with Alyssa, we noted she has literally no presence on social media, pretty unique these days. We suspected she was not a big fan of social media, and she offered this interesting rationale.

“ I’m not. Hate is a strong word, but it’s close to my feelings about social media. I definitely think there are some positive aspects to it. You can print this, I don’t really have a filter, so I have no problem putting my name behind something. Obviously there are positive aspects to it, the league wouldn’t be where it is without social media. I definitely don’t want to bash it too hard, But I definitely think that a large majority of individual social media accounts are pretty superficial. I don’t live my life for the approval,of other people, so I have no desire to post my life on social media, so people can “like” it or give it a thumbs up or whatever. Not to go into a huge rant, but you see so many people, and their life on social media is not the life they live. I have no desire to be a part of it, I think it’s a big black hole.” she laughed. “I think it’s not healthy for a lot of people. There’s definitely a positive aspect to it, and good hearted intentions behind different pages or whatever. But I think you could say even 80 or 90 percent of individual accounts are fake and superficial and I can’t stand it. I have no desire to be involved in that. And I think there’s a quote that goes “Comparison is the theif of happiness” or something like that. I’m unapologetically me, and I’m not going to go around on social media trying to be someone else, or comparing myself to someone else. If people don’t like it, that’s their problem"  she laughed. "Again, not to go off on a huge tangent, but how many people spend hours a day scrolling through social media. What are you actually getting out of that? You’re not actually getting anything out of it! I have a twelve year old niece, and it scares me to death that she’s on social media. Especially for young girls now, they’re comparing themselves. And they might see not so good “role models”, quote unquote, on social media. And think that’s real, that’s how I’m supposed to be, and follow that example. It’s a scary thought. It’s given some people a platform to feel important, to feel that their opinion is the best and that it matters the most and yours does not.”

Cetacean Nation greatly appreciates Alyssa’s insightful, sincere, and often humorous content that she supplied in her interview. Fins Up to our amazing #8, our OW, Once and Future Whale Alyssa “Wolfie” Wohlfeiler! We’ll see you in Lake Placid!

Alyssa in action late in Season One vs the Boston Pride. Photo by Meg Linehan