The Northland Pines Girls Hockey Team opens their 2017-18 season this weekend in Fond du Lac, participating in a tournament. The first game is Friday, November 17. We sat down with Head Coach Patrick Schmidt, Senior Gabby Herfindahl, Junior Piper Snedden, and Sophomore Hannah Kramsvogel, looking for their input on this upcoming season.
Q: How have you been preparing yourselves during the offseason months?
A: We all played different sports or worked out in order to get into hockey shape. A lot of our girls were in volleyball or played travel hockey. -Snedden & Kramsvogel
We had a couple girls play on the Team Wisconsin Teams as well. -Schmidt
Q: What are your goals for this season as a team?
A: I think a big goal with having a small team is just working together and keeping each other positive. – Herfindahl
To win the conference. – Schmidt
Q: How are you preparing for this season, knowing you only have 13 players?
A: I strongly believe in conditioning the girls. They go through a lot and I think that is what sets us apart from some of the other teams. – Schmidt
Q: Your season opener is the Fond du Lac tournament as it has been in several previous years, how do you think you’ll do?
A: It’s going to be a test, to see how we compare against some of the bigger co-ops in the state. It’s a new year and new teams so we are just prepared for anything. – Kramsvogel
Q: In having such a small team this year, how important is the bond between teammates going to be?
A: I think it’s huge especially with any team chemistry. You can have really weak players but if you have a strong bond you are going to play that much better as a team. So, having that bond is going to be really critical for our team this year. – Herfindahl
Just having the positive attitude will help everything too. – Kramsvogel
And that even boost the skill a little bit because you just work that much better as a team. – Snedden
Q: In having one goalie, do you have a backup plan if something were to happen?
A: Yes, we have identified a couple of people who could not replace Piper, but at least put the pads on. -Schmidt
Q: What teams do you feel will be your greatest competition this year?
A: Definitely Lakeland, especially hearing that they already said they are going to win conference, is just going to motivate our team even more to push through and show them that we can come out on top. – Herfindahl
Q: Being one of few non co-ops left in the state, how do you feel the co-ops affect the girls hockey program?
A: It doesn’t give the smaller schools a chance and we lost a team in our conference this year, so it’s not allowing us to expand on the programs we have already. -Herfindahl & Snedden
The co-ops aren’t a bad thing as long as you utilize them the correct way. Co-ops are actually good because it gives girls a chance to play hockey for schools that don’t have a team. The problem is when people get used to those co-ops, they get used to the bigger numbers and they are not taking advantage of those numbers and splitting off and creating more teams. It’s the administrator’s and the coaches not identifying when the time is to split that co-op up and create two or three teams. -Schmidt
Q: With Waupaca joining the Point/Marshfield/Rapids co-op, you lost another team in the conference, how does that affect your scheduling?
A: It gives us a lot less games and we have a lot more repetitive games than what is necessary. – Snedden
Our conference is now down to four teams and we have to play each team three times. – Schmidt
Q: You took a break last year from coaching, how do you think that will affect your coaching strategies?
A: Well the only thing that really changed is the number of lines we run, the style of hockey, [and] definitely the play is the same. Very aggressive, but we just have a different amount of girls so conditioning is that much more important. -Schmidt