Minnetonka High School's Student News

Minnetonka Breezes

Minnetonka High School's Student News

Minnetonka Breezes

Minnetonka High School's Student News

Minnetonka Breezes

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Girls’ Hockey: Everything They Touch Turns To Gold

As Americans, we like to say that we are the best in the world at everything. Best food, best lifestyle, best athletes, the list goes on. But a very select few of us actually get the honor to go prove that on a national stage. This winter, three Skippers girls hockey players had the opportunity to represent the United States in the 2024 IIHF Under-18 Women’s World Hockey Championship and thanks to them, the US is still #1.

When it comes to hockey, Minnesota is a beacon of talent unlike anywhere else, but still, it’s something entirely different to be competing on the international stage. Layla Hemp, ‘25, the team’s goalie, said, “The biggest differences are language and size. International players are just huge and when they’re out on the ice, screaming in a language you don’t understand, it’s such a weird feeling.” At the same time, it’s pretty reassuring to be skating with the cream of the crop in the United States. As Hemp said, “It was such a cool group and cool experience, to play with all the best girls in the country.”

With help from Hemp and fellow Skippers Kendra Distad and Lauren Goldsworthy, ‘24, the Americans rolled through the tournament on their way to a U-18 women’s gold medal, winning every tourney game by multiple goals. Still, this championship was a little sweeter than a regular gold medal for the United States, as it ended with a 5-1 defeat of Czechia, the team who topped the United States 4-3 in a pre-tournament matchup. Hemp said, “The pre- tourney game, we didn’t really know what to expect and we got worked. The second time around, we knew what to expect and it was super special to beat them after the first
loss. To be honest, we all thought we were getting Canada but when they got knocked out, we knew it was our opportunity to get it done.”

For Hemp, one of the sweetest parts of the whole experience was getting to share it with fellow Skippers Distad and Goldsworthy, saying “The whole team was really close but it really just felt like I brought a piece of home with me. Getting to experience that with two of my closest friends
was so special.”

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Leading into the home stretch of the girls high school hockey season, Hemp said that this experience will give her a big boost going forward into whatever the final couple games will bring. “I started off a bit slow in the high school season but showing off what I can do at an international level really boosted my confidence, and helped prove myself to any doubters.”

The same is obviously true of Distad and Goldsworthy, who hope to help bring home some more hardware this February, but this time to Minnetonka High School. Hemp said, “Winning gold was awesome but it’s so different from high school hockey. Our ultimate goal is to bring home a state championship too.” The Skippers look to capitalize on a 22-2-1 regular season with a state title this spring. As far as projections go, every team in Minnesota High School Hockey is extremely talented, but going into section/state tournaments, it’s pretty nice to be the ones with 3 gold medalists on your end of the rink.

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