Laura Halldorson discusses her career as a hockey pioneer in Minnesota, at Princeton, with the Gophers

The first head coach of the women's hockey program at the University of Minnesota, Halldorson discusses the changes in hockey since she grew up, challenges she's faced along the way and more on The Rink Live podcast with Jess Myers and Mick Hatten.

HOF Induction
After compiling a 278-67-22 record as the first head coach of the University of Minnesota's women's hockey team, Laura Halldorson was inducted into the school's M Club Hall of Fame in 2014.
Jerry E. Lee / University of Minnesota Athletics

Laura Halldorson is a pioneer in girls and women's hockey. She played girls hockey in the 1970s for the Wayzata Checkers and then played college hockey for Princeton from 1981-85.

Halldorson went into coaching and was an assistant for Princeton before taking over as the head coach at Colby College, an NCAA Division III school in Waterville, Maine. She left Colby to become the first women's head coach for the University of Minnesota in 1996 and ended up coaching the Gophers for 10 seasons before working for the development program from 2007-22.

Recently retired, she talks about her career and changes in hockey for girls and women with The Rink Live's Jess Myers and Mick Hatten.

As the first women's hockey head coach at the University of Minnesota, Laura Halldorson brought near-instant credibility to the Gophers on the national scene, and a trio of title banners to Ridder Arena.


3:30 Playing youth volleyball, basketball, softball; how she started playing hockey


5:20 How she got talked into playing hockey as a girl, despite her reservations

7:20 Girls hockey teams in the 1970s, winning a state title, national title, Minnesota Checkers

10:10 Girls playing on all-girls teams vs. playing on boys hockey teams (Natalie Darwitz, Krissy Wendell)

12:45 What college hockey was like when she played for Princeton in the early 1980s

16:00 Getting into college hockey coaching for Princeton after working for a mail order company and coaching other sports, making $2,500 as an assistant coach for the Tigers, living in a room in the gym, working part time at the same time

20:25 Why she left Colby to become first head coach for the Gophers women's hockey head coach, being honest about having an all-Minnesota roster to start with, challenges the first few years

29:00 The rivalry with the Gophers and Minnesota Duluth, winning their first national title

35:10 The decision to leave coaching after 10 successful season for the Gophers; faith, family and friends vs. working and winning


43:00 What the first Gophers players mean to her

The Rink Live Podcast is available on Apple, Spotify and all podcast streaming platforms.
Ohio State's Nadine Muzerall helps preview WCHA Final Faceoff, keys to this season's Buckeyes -- Ep. 117
Nadine Muzerall was an assistant coach for the University of Minnesota women's hockey team from 2011-16. She left her alma mater to take over an Ohio State team that had gone 10-25-1 overall in 2015-16. By 2018, the Buckeyes were playing in the Frozen Four for the first time. Ohio State also reached the Frozen Four in 2021. She discusses some keys to her success as a coach, talks about her time as a player for the University of Minnesota and what got her interested in becoming a coach with The Rink Live's Jess Myers and Mick Hatten.<br/>

Mick Hatten is a reporter and editor for Forum News Service and helps manage, a website dedicated to hockey. He began working for Forum Communications in November 2018 and has covered St. Cloud State University hockey since 2010. A graduate of St. Cloud State, he has more than 30 years of experience as a journalist and has been a youth hockey coach since 2014.
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