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Hill-Murray goaltender and Beijing native Grace Zhan commits to Dartmouth

After posting a .908 save percentage in 17 games for the Pioneers as a sophomore, Zhan announced her verbal commitment to play Division I hockey at Dartmouth College.

Grace Zhan
Grace Zhan of Hill-Murray girls hockey
Contributed Photo

MAPLEWOOD, Minn. — Hill-Murray goaltender Grace Zhan announced her verbal commitment to play Division I hockey at Dartmouth College after posting a .908 save percentage in 17 games as a sophomore in 2021-22.

Growing up in Beijing, Zhan learned to skate around the age of five. Seeing a hockey rink inside of a mall on a hot summer day made skating seem like a fun activity to try.

Zhan always enjoyed watching players interact with their goaltenders and seeing the respect the goalies get from their team out on the ice, so she tried the position as a kid and has played in between the pipes ever since.

"I played with boys my entire life back home. Transitioning over here playing with girls it feels like you get better relationships with the team and friends," said Zhan. She added that on many of her teams back in China, she and her teammates didn't see each other much outside of games and lived in different parts of the city.

After becoming successful in the sport, Zhan and her family made the move to Minnesota when she was in the eighth grade.

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The Beijing native chose Minnesota for it's hockey community and culture, along with the opportunity to experience a different education style than what she was used to.

Zhan always had a personal goal to go to college in America, which is now coming true as she recently announced her verbal commitment to play Division I hockey at Dartmouth College.

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Addison Finn announced her verbal commitment to the Terriers as a defender, but spent the past year at Stillwater playing as a forward.

"I always knew that I wanted to be a part of the Ivy League ... [Dartmouth] just seems like a great place to be and it feels like home," said Zhan.

A couple of familiar faces will be with the Big Green team for the Hill-Murray goaltender — assistant coach Nina Rodgers, who was previously a part of OS Hockey Training, and the new Director of Hockey Operations, Tina Kampa, who was also a part of OS Hockey and founded Minnesota Unbounded, which Zhan has participated in.

The 16-year-old goaltender helped backstop Hill-Murray to a 18-9-1 finish in 2021-22 and feels confident about the team going forward.

"We are very determined and we have some new girls coming in as well. I think we have a really good chance of going to state."

Zhan says that back home in China the sport of hockey has grown quite a bit since she started playing when she was younger. She has a long-term goal of playing for the Chinese national team one day.

Zhan is someone who enjoys school and is thinking about studying biology or international relations in college.

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In her free time, she enjoys playing badminton and learning languages. She is fluent in Chinese and English, but is currently learning French in school and is self-studying Korean.

Related Topics: GIRLS HOCKEY
Sydney Wolf is a reporter for The Rink Live, primarily covering youth hockey. She joined the team in November of 2021 and graduated from St. Cloud State University with a B.S. in Mass Communications and a minor in Writing and Rhetoric Studies and was a part of the University Honors Program.
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