Rooney’s Road to Gold
The UMD goalie talks about how she went from Bulldogs goalie to Olympic darling.
DULUTH — “I just knew I was going to go into it working hard. Put my head down and work hard. I didn’t know what to expect. I knew I was seen as the third goalie there in the beginning and I knew I was going to get a shot and to just capitalize on my opportunity and it kind of worked out I guess,” Rooney said.
An understatement for sure as Maddie Rooney secured Team USA’s first gold medal in 20 years. It was quite the transition for the Andover native to go from collegiate play at UMD to stopping pucks from the best players in the world.
“It definitely took me a month to adjust from college to the national team level. As a goalie, I would say it’s the speed of the shot and how quickly they release. That’s what I had to work on the most,” said Rooney
After a two week press tour that took Team USA across the country, Rooney returned to a parade in her hometown of Andover, plus she was honored during the high school state hockey tournament in Saint Paul.
“The state tournament is still one of my favorite hockey moments in my career. To be there and to be honored like that was just really awesome and really cool. I mean, it’s the State of Hockey. It’s the best so it was just really cool to be a part of,” Rooney said
For Rooney, the best of the entire experience has been the impact that her gold medal has had on girls youth hockey in the Northland.
I’ve had parents come up to me and say “your team in the reason my girl is in hockey now” and it’s just so cool to hear that. That’s who we do it for, to inspire the younger generations and grow the game and move the development along in general. I think we set a good base for it in the next coming years here,” said Rooney
So what’s next for Maddie Rooney?
“I’m going to back to school in August. I’m taking a little bit of time off here. I just got back from vacation. I’m going to do a lot of coaching here in the spring and summer. I’m definitely looking forward to getting back with my Duluth team and getting back in that college routine,” Rooney said