Stillwater girls hockey gets a fresh start


“As a team, our goal is to make it to section finals and head to state. It is a goal we have had for many years and we hope to achieve it this upcoming season,”

Senior hockey captain Olivia Konigson spoke on the upcoming season, and has high hopes.  Last year, the girls varsity hockey team had a record of 8-15-2, but they did have amazing team camaraderie.  This year they are starting fresh, with a record of 0-0-0,with a new head coach, a new locker room and a lot of new talent.

In May, the girl’s long-time varsity Head Coach, Tony Scheid resigned, leaving open a spot for a new head coach.  Lee Gillespie was named the new head coach last spring, but is not new to the Stillwater Girls Hockey Program as Gillespie has been coaching and part the of the girls hockey program for many years. Gillespie has a love for hockey and enjoys being a part of the girl’s lives.

Matt Simcik, a long time Varsity Girls Hockey Assistant Coach said, “Mr. Gillespie is very knowledgeable about the game of hockey, but more importantly he is knowledgeable, passionate and caring for the girls in the program.”

Coach Simcik is looking forward to playing their long time rival Roseville this season, where the games are typically very close and often times determined by a single goal.

Not only is their a new head coach, but the Ponies have two new captains with seniors Olivia Konigson and Claire Knowlan.  They are both stoked to begin a new season and get out on the ice.  The two of them have both been playing hockey for many years and have a real passion for the game.

“To me, hockey is a team sport that requires copious amounts of dedication and hard work.  It’s a sport that makes friends become a family and that pushes people to be their best selves.  It is important to me because I’ve learned many life lessons from it and it’s taught me to be a better person,” senior captain Knowlan said.

Both Claire and Olivia have similar pre-game routines that involve listening to music, taping their sticks, watching the JV game and warming up with the team. While the girls hockey team will have a lot of new talent, with several seniors graduating last year, they are in good hands with these captains.

Senior captain Konigson is looking forward to ” helping lead our team with my co-captain and all of the seniors this year.  I am also looking forward to playing in Hockey Day Minnesota in Stillwater.  It will be a fun experience and a great way to finish my last high school season.”

Completing the fresh start for this coaching staff and the players is a new locker room surprise this season.  The President of the Stillwater Girls Hockey Booster club, Jason Ligday, and many other hard working parents are helping create a new locker room experience for the girls this year.

A new era starts this year with a new coach, new players and new families.”

— Jason Ligday

Ligday said, “The locker room is basically a refresh with Pony colors and nice amenities for the players. A new era starts this year with a new coach, new players and new families.”

While Mr. Ligday would like to keep some of the details a secret for the players, what isn’t a secret is how excited the coaching staff, captains and parents are for this hockey season to start.

Simcik said, “High School hockey is only going to be a part of their life for a short time, but what they take away from it can influence their school, family and work lives for years to come. We are very fortunate to have coached many successful women, who just happened to be hockey players.” Although the Ponies are starting fresh with a new record, a new head coach, new talent and a new locker room this season, the life lessons and memories will last far beyond the last hockey game.