MSU's Maddie Wolsmann Figured She’d Leave Playing Hockey Behind In College - She Was Very Wrong
Wolsmann, a forward, is one of MSU club hockey’s top players and also a two-time member of Team USA in the Winter World University Games.
EAST LANSING, Mich.- Michigan State junior Maddie Wolsmann never envisioned playing serious college hockey. She came from a strong high school hockey career, at Wayzata High School in Minnesota, but was looking for a change.
And she knew that MSU does not field a varsity women’s hockey team.
“I was planning on just going to school and I actually rushed a sorority,” said Wolsmann, a native of Maple Grove, Minn. “But then the coach found my name and told me to try out.”
Her hockey career is far from over, as the forward can say she has twice represented the U.S. in the Winter World University Games and is starring on the MSU ACHA club team.
Head coach Rob Blackburn heard about Wolsmann when he was in Naples, Fla. for an ACHA coaches meeting, where he ran into the St. Olaf coach.
“He told me that he was trying to recruit her,” said Blackburn. “He said she was coming to MSU. So, I contacted her around May 2016.”
Blackburn encouraged her to try out and see what she thought of everything.
“She made the team and we told her that if she didn’t like it, we understand,” said Blackstone. Wolsmann said it was the team atmosphere that made her stay.
And it turns out Wolsmann has found a hockey career and a family at MSU too. She has won several awards throughout her career at MSU, named to the ACHA All-American First team every year since she was a freshman. Her sophomore year, she named ACHA player of the year.
Beside conference and league accolades, Wolsmann is on the MSU record board for all six categories - career points, goals, assists and season points, scoring and assists. In the 2017-18 season, she tallied 37 assists, making her the record career record holder.
She will be MSU’s captain next season.
“The team was really easy to transition into. Everyone plays a smart, fast game like I like to play. So, I jumped right in and started scoring goals,” said Wolsmann.
Her honors have not gone unnoticed. She has participated in the last two Winter World University games, in 2017 as a freshman, and 2019 as a junior.
Blackburn knew Wolsmann would be invited to compete at the international level. He was a part of the committee and mentioned that the head coach Shelly Looney had a strong interest in her.
USA had took bronze in the 2017 Winter World University Games. In 2019, Wolsmann lead team U.S.A. as a captain and was a flag bearer for the Opening Ceremony in Krasnoyarsk, Russia. The team did not medal, but Wolsmann still enjoyed the experience.
“I had no idea that I was going to be the flag bearer,” she said. “I got pulled aside by our USA Hockey manager and she said that I was up for one of the people to be picked and they ended up picking me. Honestly, I think I just blacked out the whole time, cause we had to go up and down stairs and I was afraid I was going to fall, but it was super cool.”
Wolsmann was much more relaxed the second time she competed on the international level. It ended up benefitting her teammates, as she helped them settle into the experience.
Academically, Wolsmann had to miss some classes while in Russia. In order to keep up, she contacted her professors ahead of time and tried to get as much as she could done overseas.
Wolsmann is comfortable with time management. During the fall semester, Wolsmann had a full-time packaging internship with Medtronic in Minnesota. To stay eligible to play for MSU, she took 12 online credits.
“I like being really busy. I’ve been doing it, I guess my whole life, so I’m just used to it,” she said.