Meghan wore #43 with both the Universirt of Minnesota-Duluth and the Connecticut Whale. Photo: David Harwig

SPOTLIGHT ON MEGHAN HUERTAS

Cetacean Nation recently caught up with our Amazing #43 Meghan “Huey” Huertas to chat about a number of topics with our former forward from Season Two and Three. And if you’re familiar with any of our other conversations with Meghan, you are familiar with Roxy, Riley and Alex. Roxy and Riley are her Dobermans, and Alex is her African Grey parrot, who is actually older than she is! So we had to start things off by asking how thar trio was doing, and Meghan replied “Roxy, Riley, and Alex are all great thanks for asking!”

As you may know as well, Meghan is a fan of several watersports, including kiteboarding and fishing, both of which we have discussed in her previous interviews. As to the kiteboarding, she told us “I haven’t been out kiteboarding in a while now but hope to get back in the water soon.” And on the fishing front Meghan gave us the South Florida fishing report: “Can’t wait for summertime snook. Cold front hit and the wind has been pumping. Good for kiteboarding but not so much fishing. I just got a new 3000 reel and I’m eager to use it but this week is looking like a no go! Three to five foot swells! I haven’t caught much this past year so there hasn’t been catching and cooking here” she laughed But as far as cooking fish in general I don’t really have a favorite recipe. I have different recipes depending on the type of fish I'm cooking (Roxy and Riley approved). Most of the time I wing it and try different things that sound good to me. And, Fun Fact: Lionfish taste good! 

Meghan at practice back in her first season with the Pod. Photo courtesy Connecticut Whale.

Meghan has done quite a bit of offshore fishing (more on that in a bit) but has recently taken an interest in surf fishing as well. She remarked  “Lots of snook on the beach in the summer as well as jacks! I’ve seen a lot of giant tarpon rolling through too. Other times there are mackies and pompano and permit but I’ve never caught a pompano and permit (yet) Tried catching some pompano, wanted to try it, lots of people say it’s excellent meat. I really enjoy shore fishing just lots to learn! Been skunked a lot! I would love to land a big snook or tarpon from shore. I’ve seen a couple of big guys cruising by but haven’t caught any.”

Meghan and her godfather with his huge barracuda caught off Costa Rica!

Recently Meghan had shared with us the a photo of a monster barracuda, caught by her grandfather. Normal size would be about half the length of this trophy! We asked her to tell us the story about that day and that remarkable fish. Meghan related “So about the big barracuda" she laughed "that was a while back, probably when I was in high school! My godfather caught it in Costa Rica. My dad, godfather, brother, Kevin (family bestfriend), and I were probably 20-30 miles offshore trolling. We were hoping for a sailfish that day. The day started off sunny and the seas were glassy.. We caught a nice mackie (King mackerel), and a tuna which we ended up eating on the boat right after we caught it. And then my Godfather caught that huge barracuda. We decided to start trolling back towards shore a bit to see if we could get a sail like we had hoped. We ended up getting hooked up with a nice sail and my dad fought it for a long time. We got it to the boat and released it quickly. But on our way back we got caught in a nasty storm and one of the engines went out so we were cruising on only one engine. We had to go pretty slow so it took us awhile to get back home and we didn’t get back to shore until after nightfall. It was a great day of fishing.”  A bit of an adventure as well, but with a happy ending safely back at the dock! 

Meghan with legendary UMD Women's Hockey Coach Shannon Miller. Photo by David Harwig.

Cetacean Nation asked Meghan what advice she would give to the Little Future Draft picks just getting started on their journeys. She replied  “My advice to younger players is to have fun with it and enjoy the game. That’s the most important part. Have fun and work hard.” It is what Meghan herself did. And when we asked her about her college coach, the legendary Shannon Miller, she gave us a couple of examples of keeping the fun in hockey. She explained “Coach Shannon Miller is an outstanding coach and was a mentor to me. She pushed me to improve my game and also taught me life lessons. I was very fortunate to play for her. Our team was a tight-knit group and she viewed her players as her kids. Her office door was always open and she cared for us as people, not just as hockey players. She is one of the most successful women’s hockey coaches, winning 5 NCAA national championships. She was serious about our play and winning but she also had a fun side too.”

Meghan and her line mate Zoe Hickel Photo by David Harwig.

“Coach wore a mic at our home practices. Her mic was linked up with the arena speakers so everyone in the rink could hear what she was saying. This particular practice a lot of our D were out of the lineup. We were doing a flow drill that was taxing on the D, so I thought I’d jump in for some reps here and there to give them a bit of a breather. Mind you, I don’t have a defensive bone in my body" she laughed "So after a few reps, Coach Miller blows the whistle stopping practice. Everyone stopped the drill and was looking at her. I was on the opposite end of the ice. She looks over at me and starts talking into the mic “Hey Huey, have you ever been to the Grand Canyon?” I looked down the ice towards her and I responded “Why do you ask coach? And with a smile on her face laughing she says “Because that’s what your gap looks like” and then we continued on with the drill. To this day that’s probably the best chirp anyone has said to me. One of my favorite Coach Miller moments for sure" Meghan laughed "And you know what,  she wasn’t wrong!”

Meghan with a goal vs the rival Minnesota Gophers! Photo: UMD Athletics

Meghan continued “Another funny Coach Miller moment was when UMD was doing a video segment on me. (https://youtu.be/1dSjW4FKuUs) They had interviewed Coach for it and kept her interview a surprise for me until I saw the actual segment. You can watch the interview here and see what she said” she laughed  “I loved it and she had me fooled at first.” You probably recognize another Whale in that clip, our former #44 Zoe Hickel. Meghan’s teammate at UMD, who conducted the interview. Zoe is currently an Assistant Coach for the NCAA Tournament bound Ohio State Buckeyes. So we asked Meghan who she was rooting for in the Tournament, and she confirmed our suspicions, saying “Once a Bulldog, always a Bulldog! Go ‘Dogs! But also, good luckto my former UMD liney Zoe Hickel!” In addition to being teammates at their prep school, college and with the Whale, the two share another unique connection. They both scored a goal for the Pod in their first game with the Whale. Here’s a link to the video Meghan’goal, courtesy of BDZ Sports: https://twitter.com/bdzsports/status/818248393340387328?s=21

Meghan in action with the Pod. Photo courtesy Connecticut Whale

We thank our Amazing #43 Meghan Huertas for taking the time to share some of what’s going on in her life at present, and for taking a nostalgic look back on a few things as well. Fins Up Forever Huey!

“Once A Bulldog, always a Bulldog”. Photos courtesy UMD Athletics