Alumni still skating through Whitecaps

The Gophers played an exhibition game Friday with some of their ex-teammates.

Whitecaps forward and former Minnesota hockey player Rachael Bona plays against the Gophers at Ridder Arena on Thursday, Sept. 24.

Maddy Fox

Whitecaps forward and former Minnesota hockey player Rachael Bona plays against the Gophers at Ridder Arena on Thursday, Sept. 24.

by Mike Hendrickson

On Friday, several former Gophers skated for the Minnesota Whitecaps to play against their alma mater in an exhibition game.
The Whitecaps, an independent women’s hockey team based in the Twin Cities, had 11 past Minnesota players play against their former team Friday
including two players from the 2015 NCAA championship team. 
While all of the former players are still involved in hockey with the Whitecaps, they’re taking different approaches to their future. Friday, though, marked a homecoming to Ridder Arena.
“It was super fun just seeing my old teammates and playing against them,” said forward Meghan Lorence, who played for the Gophers last season. “It was definitely an experience for sure. It was a lot of fun.”
Along with Lorence, forward Rachael Bona represented last year’s national championship team. Both Lorence and Bona scored an assist. 
“I’d been talking to some of them this [past] week and how weird it was going to be facing off against them,” Bona said. “They’re all your friends and I was just playing with
them four months ago, and now I’m against them.”
Bona was a co-captain on last year’s team and is currently waitressing. She was recently accepted into St. Catherine University’s nursing school in St. Paul, and will be starting there in February.
Lorence is helping out at Overspeed Hockey Training, a program headed by former Minnesota player and current Whitecaps skater Winny Brodt Brown.
Noora Raty, the Gophers goaltender during their undefeated national championship season in 2012-13, also played in Friday’s matchup. 
Raty said it would be her only game for the Whitecaps, as she will be returning to Finland to play in a men’s hockey league for a second season. 
She also spent the spring and summer helping at MEGA goaltending, a goaltending school founded by men’s hockey volunteer goaltending coach Justin Johnson.
“After college, they asked me to coach and I said, ‘why not?’ ” Raty said. “I actually really loved it. … I’m just trying to build the girl’s program there.”
Bethany Brausen, who played for the Whitecaps on Friday and was the Gophers team captain for the 2013-14 season, said she is currently a graduate student at University
of Minnesota studying counseling psychology and is also teaching assistant in the sociology department. 
She is also an assistant coach for women’s hockey at the Breck School, and said she hopes to stay in hockey however she can.
“I’d love to stay as involved as possible,” Brausen said. “Definitely coaching for sure. I absolutely fell in love with it last year when I did it. Really any opportunities that come my way; I would never turn down coaching opportunities.”
And with her busy schedule, Brausen still finds time to play for the Whitecaps.
“It’s a commitment that’s worth it for just about anyone that’s got that hockey blood in them,” Brausen said.