Lauren Hespenheide, a senior forward from Shakopee, Minnesota, is a force both on and off the ice and is beginning her season with a bang. Last season Hespenheide served as an assistant captain and this season she will be wearing the “C” as she was selected to be the St. Cloud State University women’s hockey team captain. The Huskies nearly split their season-opening series with the number one ranked Wisconsin Badgers. Under Hespenheide’s leadership, there could be some upsets in the 2016-2017 season.
In her SCSU career so far, she has played in 106 games, proving consistency is key. However, jumping into her career at SCSU, Hespenheide was a different player than she is now.
“Coming into my freshman and sophomore year I always thought being the strongest was the best way for me to do everything, but by doing that I actually got slower,” she said.
Prior to her junior year, she focused more on speed and not just weight lifting, resulting in a stand-out 2015-2016 season. The evolution of Hespenheide as a player began when she entered college. She claimed, “My role has changed since high school when it was a lot easier to score some goals and it came as a shock coming into college.”
Obviously, change is a good thing, and she proved just that by changing her style of play and making herself better on and off the ice. Great leaders often present great opportunities for that of their teammates and Hespenheide does just that. She considers herself a playmaker. She wants to be the one to provide her team with chances to score and it doesn’t matter if she is the one to do it. “My concern is developing a play and getting people into the right positions to execute it,” she said.
“My concern is developing a play and getting people into the right positions to execute it,” Hespenheide said.
In the 2015-2016 developmental season for Hespenheide, she played in an impressive 35 games wearing the “A,” proving her leadership to be incredibly beneficial. Continuing to prove her dedication both on and off the ice, she was also named to the WCHA All-Academic team. Hespenheide plans to continue setting an example for her teammates, especially the incoming freshman.
She wants to emphasize that the team is capable of winning any game and said, “My freshman and sophomore year, a lot of times when we would come to the rink, we would already be defeated. Last year the culture began to change and everyone on the team would come in with a different attitude.” She wants the focus to be on the game and not on the big name teams.
Records from last season were broken as the Huskies had a 7-game win streak, which was the longest in school history. This year under the strong leadership of senior Hespenheide more record-breaking may be in the future for the program. Hespenheide believes that the Huskies are capable of anything this season, so the Gophers and Badgers better look out.
Photo by Maddie MacFarlane