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Taylor Heise on growing up in a basketball family, where her love of juggling came from, her drive to improve

A conversation with the University of Minnesota graduate student, who won the Patty Kazmaier Trophy as women's hockey's best player last season. A look inside the competitive mind of the star center

Minnesota Gophers forward Taylor Heise, a Lake City native who starred at Red Wing High School, was named the 2022 Patty Kazmaier Award winner, given annually to the nation's top women's college hockey player.
Jim Rosvold / University of Minnesota Athletics

Taylor Heise grew up in the Lake City, Minn., area in eastern Minnesota. Her parents are former college basketball players at Wisconsin-River Falls and her brother, Nathan, is a junior guard at Northern Iowa. How the heck did she end up getting interested in hockey? Her competitive nature is part of it.

Heise played on three USA Under-18 national teams while playing for Red Wing High School and recently became the University of Minnesota's all-time leader in games played in women's hockey. Her fascinating career paths, her drive and her desire to get back to the NCAA Division I tournament are all on display in this episode of The Rink Live podcast with Jess Myers and Mick Hatten. Oh, and did we mention that she loves to juggle? Where the heck did that come from?

Watch or listen:


1:20 What this time of year is like, the craziness of it

2:15 What went into deciding to come back for a fifth season after winning the Patty Kazmaier Award


4:00 How she got into hockey after being surrounded by basketball players, playing outdoors

7:55 When did she start playing organized hockey, playing basketball and hockey growing up

9:35 What the recruiting process was like for her, how she kept her options open

11:25 How did playing for the Under-18 national team come about ... at 15, how she learned about upper level hockey

14:25 Getting cut from the Olympic team last season, playing in the World Championships

17:15 What were goals she had for herself before this season

20:00 How the WCHA competition has changed during her career

21:50 Where did her interest in juggling come from, trying to learn how to juggle pins


24:30 The pregame rituals of her and her Gophers teammates

26:20 Keys for the Gophers this weekend against Wisconsin

27:35 What is her plan for professional hockey

Mick Hatten is a reporter and editor for Forum News Service and helps manage TheRinkLive.com, 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. mhatten@forumcomm.com

For more coverage of St. Cloud and the surrounding communities, check out St. Cloud Live.
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