Zoey Krock 'just knew' that Minnesota Duluth would be the perfect fit
The 16-year-old Pittsburgh Penguins Elite center committed to UMD in October after not being able to get the school off of her mind.
PITTSBURGH — As 16-year-old Zoey Krock was going through the NCAA recruiting process this summer, she asked her older brother Jackson how she was supposed to know which program would be the right fit.
His response? "You'll just know."
That ended up being exactly how the Pittsburgh Penguins Elite skater committed to Minnesota Duluth.
"When I was flying home from UMD, I just knew. I had my Minnesota Duluth sweatshirt on sitting on the plane, looking at pictures, and it was all I thought about," Krock said after her visit to the school's campus this fall.
Not long after that, the 5-foot-4 center announced her verbal commitment to play for the Bulldogs on Oct. 18.
So excited to announce my commitment to play Division 1 hockey and further my education at the University of Minnesota Duluth! Huge thank you to my parents, brothers, coaches, teammates, and friends for all the endless support and making this lifelong dream come true! #GoBulldogs pic.twitter.com/gzTKy7j4DE— Zoey Krock (@zkrock18) October 18, 2022
June 15 was the first day schools could contact players heading into their junior year of high school. UMD was an immediate front-runner for Krock.
"When you hear about women's hockey, Minnesota Duluth is a school that's a face of women's hockey," she said.
"Meeting the coaches and seeing the energy they brought and how much interest they showed in me as a player is something I looked for as a student-athlete going through the recruiting process."
Krock and UMD were familiar with each other before this summer though, as the skater and Bulldog associate head coach Laura Bellamy had worked together in the past.
"Coach Bellamy was actually my national coach for the U15 camp two years ago ... I remember calling my dad after my exit meeting saying that I would want to play for her one day."
Krock was born in 2006 in the Chicago area and moved to Pittsburgh around the age of 4. Her family previously had lived in Pittsburgh and moved back to the area after Zoey and her younger brother Owen were born.
The forward started skating around the age of 3. Her father played college hockey at Penn State and her older brother started playing when he was young. Krock looked up to her brother and was inspired to start skating after watching him play.
Krock mostly plays center, but can also play left wing, and likes to be versatile out on the ice.
"I'm a 200-foot player, I can play anywhere that's needed. I'm speedy, I can see the ice pretty well, and I have a good hockey IQ," she said.
The forward is also big on hard work and determination, "I'm always giving 100 percent. Effort and attitude are huge to me ... I want to be a player in all situations and I hope to be very coachable, very gritty and very determined."
The hockey player also takes her talents to her school's lacrosse team in the spring.
Krock will play this season and next season for the Penguins, before heading to Minnesota Duluth in the fall of 2024.