If there was a Mount Rushmore for women’s hockey coaches, Laura Halldorson would be front and centre.
In 17 years behind the bench split between Colby College (1990-1996) and University of Minnesota (1998-2007), Halldorson put together an incredible record of 337-142-31. She is one of only 33 women’s college coaches to have surpassed 250 wins, coming in 15th on the list of career victories. That ranking includes both men and women coaches, but for female bench bosses, Halldorson is fourth all-time.
And that list doesn’t include National Championships. Halldorson successfully led the Golden Gophers to three National Championships in her 10 seasons behind the bench.
Halldorson was inducted into the University of Minnesota’s “M” Club Hall of Fame in 2014. The three-time National Coach of the Year won nearly 80 percent of games coached during her time with the Golden Gophers, and reached the NCAA Frozen Four eight times.
Clearly there is much to learn from a coaching mastermind such as Halldorson and learn from her Nadine Muzerall did. In this 42-minute video, exclusive to members of The Coaches Site, Hallordson is interviewed by Muzerall, her former player and current the Ohio State Buckeyes current Head Coach.
Muzerall was a star for Halldorson’s Golden Gophers as a player before serving as a member of the coaching staff. The first women’s hockey player to be inducted into her university’s hall of fame, Muzerall still sits atop the all-time goals scored list with 139 and graduated as the career points leader for Minnesota. As a member of the coaching staff, she helped guide her former team to four national championships and five-consecutive spots in the title game.
All-in-all, Muzerall holds the honourable distinction of having won multiple national championships as a player and as a coach at the same institution: 2000 and 2001 as a player, 2012, 2013, 2015, and 2016 as a coach.
Muzerall has since taken over the women’s hockey program at Ohio State University and two seasons ago, just her sixth behind the bench, she helped the Buckeyes become NCAA National Champions.
In 2022, Muzerall was named the WCHA Coach of the Year for the third time in five years after leading the Buckeyes to their fourth 20+ win season of her tenure and program-record milestones, including the record-breaking 2021-22 season that saw the Buckeyes earn their very first No. 1 national ranking and No. 1 NCAA Tournament seed before winning their first national championship.
The conversation between these two incredible coaches ranges from why they got into coaching, what satisfaction they get out of it, how the coaching platform changes lives, how they impact players in the moment yet also prepare them for life after sports. Both women agree it’s about shaping their players into fantastic human beings so they can thrive if they have skates on or not.
“I want them to stay grounded and understand what it is and what it means to be grateful. That’s the qualities that I bring, because I’m more of a blue collar type kid and that portrays through my coaching. I hope that becomes life lessons for these young girls as they go out into the world and tackle it.” – Nadine Muzerall
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