Northwood Alum Excited to be Back for Pro Hockey Bubble 

Cailey Hutchinson ’15 of the New York Riveters (Photo provided)

The National Womens Hockey League is squeezing a full hockey season into only two weeks. Due to COVID-19, teams traveling all over the place to play against each other did not sound like the safest idea. So, the NWHL had to figure out a safe plan to salvage a 2020-2021 season. The NHL had a bubble in Toronto over the summer to finish out the season and uphold the Stanley Cup Playoffs. It was very successful, so the NWHL saw this as an opportunity to have a bubble of their ownas they compete for the Isobel Cup.  

Luckily for Northwood students the bubble is located right where we call home, Lake Placid, NY. From January 23rd to Friday February 5th, over the 2 weeks, the 6 teams in the league will play 24 games at the famous Herb Brooks Arena (where the 1980 USA Olympic hockey team beat Russia for the first time to win gold in the Miracle on Ice). This is a round-robin tournament, and the best teams will end up playing a “final four” round of games at the end to determine who will go to the championship 

Having the bubble held in Lake Placid, is not only a thrill for Northwood students but it is also super exciting for Northwood Alum Cailey Hutchinson. She is competing in the tournament for the New York Riveters and wears number 13. Cailey graduated in the class of ‘15 and then went off to The University of Maine where she played division 1 college hockey in the Hockey East conferenceCailey is not only an exceptional hockey player but she is an exceptional leader. At UMaine, she was a leader as an assistant captain and is also an assistant captain for her New York Riveters team nowShe inspires so many people, especially young girls who look up to her and want to follow in her footsteps 

Hutchinson told The Mirror that coming back to Lake Placid was so special“When I was driving to the rink on the team bus I was actually crying because I was just so happy, she said. “I think for anyone who goes to or has attended Northwood it’s a very special spot. Hutchinson reflected on how women’s professional hockey has expanded since she attended Northwood. “When I was at Northwood there really wasn’t anything besides division 1 and the Olympic team. So, I always wanted to do something and be a part of something special and come back to this placeand I finally have my chance and that is really special.” Returning to Lake Placid is an emotional experience for her. “There are not many words that can describe what it felt like playing on the ice today again. But it brings back a ton of memories so it’s really special for sure, Hutch added.  

Many young girls look up to Cailey, especially the girls hockey team here at Northwood. All the girls want to follow in her footsteps and accomplish goals like she hasShe appreciates being a role model to young girls “Like I said, I did not really have this when I was growing up, so the 22 Olympic girls were pretty much all we knew and all we saw.” She continued, “So now having this platform for the professional women’s league, there are 6 teams and will be more coming in the future, so we have well over 100 athletes for these young girls to look up to. And I think the best thing about this league is that we put a show on every single day. There are practices, there are clinics, we are always out there in the community. So, just having girls able to see us on a daily basis is huge, because now they don’t have to wait every 4 years to see women’s hockey on TV,” said Hutchinson. “Now we can see it every weekend, or for the bubble’s sake, for two weeks, so that’s the best part. And I know today we had one of the most viewers that we’ve had in the history watching on Twitch, so I know half of those viewers are probably those young girls that finally get to see females on the ice, so that’s huge.”  

Hutch also shared one of her most vivid memories from Northwood. She talked about a special hockey memory. “My senior year at Northwood I broke my clavicle in three places at our first league weekend in Stanstead and I was out for pretty much half the season.” She added, “My first game back was at the Northwood Tournament and in the semi-final game, to get us to the finals, I had 3 shorthanded goals in three minutes. And we were playing the Stanstead team and the goalie at the time was the U-18 Team Canada goalie.” She jokingly added, “I probably should’ve retired then because I don’t know how I can ever redo that,” she laughed. But that was definitely my favorite memory from Northwood.”  

Everyone at Northwood, especially the girls’ hockey team wishes Cailey the best of luck in the tournament and can’t wait to watch her keep accomplishing impressive things. It is really special to have the NWHL bubble take place right here in Lake Placid. Make sure to go watch Cailey Hutchison play and all the other amazing women in the tournament! 

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