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St. Cloud girls hockey gets its bearings in first season under new name

The St. Cloud Crush, formerly the St. Cloud Icebreakers, went through a lot of change over the past year.

The St. Cloud Crush line up before the national anthem
The St. Cloud Crush line up as a team before the national anthem.
Sydney Wolf / The Rink Live

ST. CLOUD, Minn. — Going from the historic team name Icebreakers to the new Crush nickname wasn't an easy change for the St. Cloud girls hockey team.

"It was very hard for the girls, it was hard for a lot of people — especially the alumni. We've been the Icebreakers, or Breakers, for I think 24 seasons," said St. Cloud head coach Amanda Pickett.

The name change came about for the team due to the rising number of co-op teams in the St. Cloud area, not just for hockey. All the schools involved in these combined sports programs decided they would be called the Crush and would don blue, white, and orange jerseys.

The name change was officially announced last summer, but the Icebreakers' past still was seen quite a bit on the ice this past year. The squad didn't get their new jerseys in time for the first game of the season — so they got to wear the historic Breakers jersey one last time in a 5-3 win against Alexandria.

"We just got our gloves like literally two months ago, we don't have breezer covers, we don't have our bags, we don't have our scrimmage jerseys ... it's still tough because we don't have stuff," said Pickett on the transition.

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Even though some of the kinks of the name transition are still being worked out, the team went 14-10-2 this past season, which is double the amount of wins the squad had the previous season.

The team had an athletic group of seniors, five of which are committed to play college sports. Kat Bell and Cailey Davidson, in particular, are both committed to play hockey at the D-III level for Wisconsin-River Falls and Wisconsin-Superior, respectively.

The seven seniors on the roster provided lots of leadership for the team that will be missed, as there will only be two seniors next season.

One of the key seniors departing the program is goaltender Kailee Falconer, who posted a .895 save percentage with three shutouts.

Rising junior Abby Stevens will likely get the nod in goal for the upcoming year. Pickett said that Stevens got into a couple of games this past year and is working with two other goalies at summer training camp. Confidence is key for these up-and-coming goalies.

Returner Ava Schmidt will be relied on heavily for scoring in 2022-23, as she tied for the team lead in points with 35.

Along with Schmidt, you can expect to see rising juniors Jenna Amundson and Lauren Juncewski along with sophomore Molly Burkstrand to make an impact on the scoresheet.

The Crush have also seen a big increase this year in their fan base, as young players from the newly co-oped Central MN Riverblades have been seen cheering on the team at a lot of their games.

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Getting the players out in public is a part of Pickett's coaching philosophy, as it helps to both grow the game and create that fan base for the team.

Senior player Cailey Davidson even had a super fan this year who would make signs for her and cheer her on throughout the season.

Although their may still be some work to be done with the new 'Crush' name, the team made big strides this year and is hoping to keep up the good work.

For more on name change of the team, the impact that Anne Schleper had on St. Cloud hockey, some of the shenanigans the team gets up to on road trips, and the players favorite games in the offseason, make sure to listen to the full podcast or watch the interview below.

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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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