The Student News Site of Souderton Area High School

The Arrowhead

The Arrowhead

The Student News Site of Souderton Area High School

The Arrowhead

The Student News Site of Souderton Area High School

The Arrowhead

The Arrowhead

From Revolution Ice Gardens to the pros and beyond

Starting her hockey career out of Revolution Ice Gardens and Hatfield Ice Arena, professional ice hockey player Kelsey Koelzer played in the National Women’s Hockey League (NWHL) and continues to play at a high level.

Bringing her ice hockey playing experience to behind the bench, professional ice hockey player Kelsey Koelzer joins the Arcadia University’s women’s hockey team’s coaching staff as head coach.

According to The Ice Garden, Koelzer was drafted first overall in the 2016 NWHL Draft by the New York Riveters (now the Metropolitan Riveters) and the first African-American player to go first overall in any professional ice hockey draft.

“I was actually in the car heading down to the Jersey Shore for the weekend when I found out that I had been taken first overall,” Koelzer said. “It was a very surreal moment.”

Pennridge Ice Hockey JV head coach Jeff Montagna first saw Koelzer play when “she was 11 or 12 years old.”

“She was the best player on the ice all the time,” Montagna said.

The National Women’s Hockey League (NWHL) was formed in 2015, following Koelzer’s freshman (2013-14) and sophomore (2014-15) years at Princeton University.

“Entering college I didn’t even know there would be somewhere for me to play beyond,” Koelzer said, “and so having the opportunity to play and then having the honor of being picked first overall was a really incredible feeling.”

Arcadia University announced in August 2019 that Koelzer will be the first head coach for their women’s hockey program that is set to start playing in the 2021-22 season.

“Since starting, it’s been an amazing experience,” Koelzer said.

Junior Mandy Kaminsky “met her for recruitment” when Koelzer came and coached her club [ice hockey] team.

“My whole job now is to recruit players for our first season of play in the 2021-22 season,” Koelzer said.

Koelzer is regarded warmly by teammates.

“I would say the couple things that come to mind in regards to Kelsey and being her teammate would be her intensity, her leadership, as well as her power,” teammate Fiona McKenna said.

Kaminsky describes Koelzer as “kind but passionate about the game” and to see her “coaching a very successful team with Arcadia [University].”

“In those first couple years I’m definitely focused on some of those smaller tangible goals of seeing the team grow and the players grow as students and athletes,” Koelzer said

According to Princeton Ice Hockey, Koelzer started her college career as a forward and changed to defense in her sophomore year.

“Her transformation from freshman year to senior year was nothing like I’ve ever seen,” McKenna said.

“Kelsey was very dedicated to getting better everyday on and off the ice as a player and a leader,” McKenna said.

Koelzer is a member of the Professional Women’s Hockey Players’ Association (PWHPA).

The PWHPA’s Dream Gap Tour stopped in Vorhees, New Jersey on February 29 and March 1. Koelzer played for Team Decker.

Team Decker lost their first game on February 29 and won their game on March 1. Koelzer scored in the game on March 1.

Koelzer went to Hatboro Horsham High School and played one year on the co-ed varsity team.

“I decided after my sophomore year I wanted to put as much focus on my travel hockey as possible,” Koelzer said.

Before playing girls’ hockey, Koelzer played with the boys.

“The boys’ team she was on was one of the best [1996 birth year] teams at the tier two level in the area,” Montagna said, “and she was the best player on that team.”

A girls’ and women’s hockey club that runs out of Hatfield Ice Arena and Revolution Ice Gardens is the Lady Patriots organization.

“I started my girls hockey with the Lady Patriots organization out of Warwick,” Koelzer said.

“[The members of the PWHPA] are partaking in the Dream Gap Tour,” Koelzer said. “What we’re trying to do is bring a really good product of hockey to different cities and countries.”

Souderton Ice Hockey JV players play under Pennridge for JV competition.

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