USA Hockey Hall of Famer Natalie Darwitz discusses returning to the Gophers

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Natalie Darwitz is one of the most decorated players to play hockey. Darwitz is a member of the USA Hockey Hall of Fame, the Minnesota Sports Hall of Fame and the Minnesota High School League Hall of Fame.

She played in three Olympic Games (2002, 2006, 2010) and was the youngest player to join the senior women's national team at age 15. She played in her first Olympics at age 18, was a three-time All-American at the University of Minnestoa and helped the Gophers win two national titles.

After she retired, she was an assistant for the Gophers and then the head coach for the Lakeville South girls hockey team and was the head coach at Hamline University from 2015-21, helping the Pipers to two straight Frozen Fours in NCAA Division III before rejoining the Gophers staff. She discusses all of this and more with The Rink Live's Mick Hatten.


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Part 1: 10:00 - 17:09 - Playing For Team USA at 15 Years Old

Part 2: 17:10 - 26:44 - Why Did A 3-Time Olympian Retire From Hockey at Age 26?

Podcast Timestamps:


4:45 -- How Natalie ended up as an assistant coach with the Gophers this season

7:00 -- How women's hockey has changed in the last 10 years

10:00 -- Why she decided to retire in 2010 at age 25

14:25 -- How she got into coaching and how coaching helped her as a player

17:10 -- How and why she started playing hockey

19:20 -- Playing high school hockey


20:15 -- Joining the USA senior national team at age 15

22:30 -- What was it like playing in the Olympics

26:45 -- Turning Hamline University into a national title contender during her time there.

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Jess Myers covers college hockey, as well as outdoors, general sports and travel, for The Rink Live and the Forum Communications family of publications. He came to FCC in 2018 after three decades of covering sports as a freelancer for a variety of publications, while working full time in politics and media relations. A native of Warroad, Minn. (the real Hockeytown USA), Myers has a degree in journalism/communications from the University of Minnesota Duluth. He lives in the Twin Cities. Contact Jess via email at, or find him on Twitter via @JessRMyers. English speaker.
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