Minnesota Whitecaps NWHL Win Inspires Northland Youth Hockey Players
Former Northland hockey stars Sadie Lundquist and Emma Stauber brought the Isobel Cup back home, showing young girls that this career is possible.
PROCTOR, Minn. – Women’s hockey is growing around the country, especially here in Minnesota. And now, for many young hockey players, having a career as a professional hockey player feels more real.
The Minnesota Whitecaps made history just a few months ago, winning the National Women’s Hockey League’s Isobel Cup in their first year in the league.
“All I remember is we could not get on the ice fast enough. It was awesome. It was a great faceoff win, Lee put it on net, and sometime it’s better to be lucky than good. When it sunk in, the place erupted. It was cool how dedicated our fans were all season,” Whitecaps forward and Cloquet native Sadie Lundquist said.
The Whitecaps win has sparked a passion for youth girls hockey.
“It makes me want to work harder to get there and earn it and see what it feels like to win it,” youth hockey player Hannah Graves said.
Lundquist and Duluth native and former UMD women’s hockey captain Emma Stauber were both members of the Whitecaps this season and had the chance to bring the cup back home.
“I think it’s just really special for the young girls to be able to see it, touch it, feel it and actually feel that dream come to life a little bit. I knew right away that I wanted to have something at my prior high school,” Stauber said.
The NWHL was founded in 2015. Stauber graduated from the Mirage in 2011 while Lundquist graduated from the Lumberjacks in 2009, so a professional women’s hockey league wasn’t even a possibility while they were in high school.
“I really didn’t have the ability to even dream about when I was in this rink. It wasn’t until college that this league became available so for kids around the ice this morning to have that, it’s incredible and they’re so fortunate that it keeps growing every year and they’ve got the chance to play in the pros,” Lundquist said.
“It’s kind of a reality check for everybody around here like you can actually become a pro in hockey, and it’s a really cool experience to show how you can really finish your hockey career and that it’s actually possible to become a pro,” Mirage defenseman Braelyn Sathers said.
Now that the league is here, these two former Northland stars are taking pride in being able to show these girls that this career is possible and can start right here in the Twin Ports.
“We couldn’t see that dream. And now that it’s here and it’s real, it’s really important for these girls to see that. Especially up here in the Northland because a lot of the girls were from Southern Minnesota. Being able to bring it up here is really special,” Stauber said.
“Knowing that us after high school or college we can take a step further and have like a Stanley Cup but for women, and knowing that we’re able to go that far in sports. It’s nice to know that we have a place to go now where we can get that and bring it here,” youth hockey player Megan Bonfigt said.