Stevenson hockey star loses chance to play at Fenway
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Their "game of a lifetime" got snowed out by Mother Nature.
But Maggie Brennolt and her teammates from the Northeastern women's hockey team still took away a wonderful memory from Fenway Park this week.
"There's nothing much you can do when Mother Nature forces the mayor of Boston to shut down the entire city because of all the snow," said Brennolt, a 2010 Stevenson graduate and native of Northwest Suburban Hawthorn Woods. "But at least we still got a practice in at Fenway. That was pretty cool. We're really grateful for that."
Northeastern was supposed to play rival Harvard in an outdoor game at historic Fenway Park on Thursday.
But the massive snowstorm that had hit the Chicago area the last several days made its way to the East Coast and caused massive closings and cancellations there. More than a foot of snow was dumped on the Boston area.
Because Fenway Park had schedule other hockey games and special events on a makeshift ice rink inside the stadium, there was no open day for the Huskies to reschedule. The two schools will play indoors at Harvard on Saturday instead.
"We are pretty bummed about that," Brennolt said. "Every hockey player loves the idea of playing outside because it's kind of taking hockey back to its roots when people would play out on lakes. And it would have been really cool to play a game at a place like Fenway Park. When we were out there practicing (on New Year's Eve), it was so neat to see all the stadium signs and (the Green Monster). We would have loved the chance to play there."
For most of Brennolt's teammates, the practice opportunity will have to compensate. But as team captain, Brennolt, a senior defender, got a little something extra as a consolation prize. She and the rest of the leaders from both teams also got a behind-the-scenes tour of Fenway Park, including a look at the clubhouse of the World Champion Boston Red Sox.
"When (the Red Sox) won the World Series (in October), a bunch of us went down (to Fenway Park) to yell and cheer with thousands of other fans," said Brennolt, who estimates the Northeastern campus is about 20 minutes from downtown Boston. "To be able to go in the Red Sox clubhouse, knowing they were just in there winning the World Series, was incredible. I got my picture in front of Big Papi's (David Ortiz's) locker and everything."
Brennolt has to be careful to be measured with her excitement. She wants her father Mike, a former football player at Illinois, to know that the other Sox, the White Sox, are still her favorite team come baseball season.
The Brennolts also closely follow the Blackhawks, particularly Maggie.
In grade school, she became a big-time USA Hockey fan when Downers Grove native Cammi Granato helped the women capture a gold medal at the 1998 Olympics in Nagano, Japan. But even Granato and the magic of that team couldn't replace the Blackhawks in Brennolt's heart. She's been a die-hard Blackhawks fans for nearly as long as she's been skating.
"My dad used to play hockey for fun and he had me out on skates when I was 4 or 5 years old," said Brennolt, who got serious about hockey when her older brother Quinn, who played club hockey at the University of Wisconsin, began playing on travel teams. "When I first tried hockey, I loved it. I just couldn't stop."
Brennolt will finally stop at the end of this season. She will retire from hockey and graduate in the spring with a degree in criminal justice. She wants to get involved in fraud investigations.
"It was my goal to be able to play college hockey and be a student-athlete and get a good education, so I'm kind of living the dream," Brennolt said. "I'll miss hockey when I'm done, but I'm ready to move on and do something else. I'm ready to get out into the real world."
Besides Maggie Brennolt, there are four other Chicago-area natives on the Northeastern women's hockey team, which is currently 7-10-1 on the season.
Kelly Wallace is from Libertyville, Claire Santostefano is from Wilmette, Ann Doherty is from Park Ridge and Kendall Coyne is from Palos Heights. Coyne, a junior forward, learned a few days ago that she made the Olympic roster for Team USA. She will compete in Sochi, Russia next month in the 2014 Winter Olympics.
Due to her Olympic commitment, Coyne, who attended Sandburg High School, will miss the entire 2013-14 season for Northeastern but will have two years of eligibility left when she returns next year.
Follow Patricia on Twitter: @babcockmcgraw
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