The women’s hockey team has two of last year’s captains returning this season. Senior Andrea Nichols and junior Bobbi Ross will share the captain’s duties this year.
But leading by example isn’t something that is new to either of them.”There were a few things about Minnesota that were a step above the rest.” Ross said. “I really liked the team, coaches, just the environment and the game atmosphere.”
Last year as a sophomore, Ross was named an assistant captain with departed defensemen Chelsey Brodt.
“As a captain, I’m still learning,” the junior said. “I just hope to get better every day.”
Ross was named to the NCAA All-Tournament Team last season, and also voted Minnesota’s most valuable player, scoring 21 goals and recording 22 assists.
“When it comes to playing hockey, I guess my strongest point is my love of the game. I love to watch and learn from it,” Ross said. “I just try to play with my head.”
Her smart play helped Ross land a spot on the Canadian Hockey Under-22 League this year, something she hadn’t been able to do in two previous tryouts.
“I’d been cut from the team my first two years, so this was pretty much do or die,” she said. “It was truly a dream come true when I did make it.”
In total, seven women from Minnesota played in the Under-22 League this year. According to coach Halldorson, the league helps give players experience and confidence, two things that will help a young Gophers team.
After coming off an overtime loss to New Hampshire last Saturday, Minnesota will look to the experienced players, like Nichols and Ross, to stay positive.
“We’re just really excited to get back on the ice and show that we can keep rolling,” Ross said. “If we play our game and work real hard, we should come away from that weekend happy with ourselves.”
This weekend, the Gophers host Minnesota State at Ridder Arena.
“Mankato is really good this year, better than they have been in the past,” Nichols said. “We have to come in ready to play.”