Leading by example

Blugold Women’s Hockey captain Andi Husted exemplifies leadership on and off the ice

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Leading by example

Senior Andi Husted skates up ice into the Yellow Jackets zone looking for a shot Friday night.

Senior Andi Husted skates up ice into the Yellow Jackets zone looking for a shot Friday night.

Photo by Trent Tetzlaff

Senior Andi Husted skates up ice into the Yellow Jackets zone looking for a shot Friday night.

Photo by Trent Tetzlaff

Photo by Trent Tetzlaff

Senior Andi Husted skates up ice into the Yellow Jackets zone looking for a shot Friday night.

Story by Trent Tetzlaff, Copy Editor

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Jim Husted fulfiled one of his biggest dreams Saturday night. He took the ice with daughter — senior captain Andi Husted.  The two were reunited for one last time with Husted in a UW-Eau Claire jersey. He flew from Arizona to watch Husted play on her senior night at Hobbs Ice Center against UW-Stevens Point.

Husted, who has been playing of hockey since she was 7 years old, said she fell in love with the game as soon as she could skate, and was able to learn from her father, who played collegiate hockey at Michigan Tech.

At the age of 14, Husted was being recruited to play at Shattuck St. Mary’s, a boarding school in Minnesota with a national reputation with alumni such as NHL all-star Sidney Crosby, and Olympian Amanda Kessel. But she wasn’t quite ready to make the move at such a young age. Two years later she decided to make the jump.

Husted said it was what was best for her, given she would have the opportunity of a lifetime to play with future Olympians in a nationally recognized travel program.

“The move for me was a big change overall,” she said. “The weather first and foremost was a big change, but for me it just felt like I was going to college early, meeting new people and beginning a new lifestyle.”

Husted said the two years at Shattuck St. Mary’s were tough but memorable, as the team played over 60 games each season and came away with two national titles. However, all the work was worth it, she said, as it prepared her for what was ahead.

Husted is about more than just winning. Eau Claire women’s head hockey coach Mike Collins said she is someone who loves the game, competition and the hard work that goes into it.

“Physically Andi is a tireless worker and competitor on the ice,” Collins said. “But mentally she is just a great overall leader and is very dedicated, which is what makes her so valuable.”

As her time at Shattuck came to a close, she had to start making decisions as to where she would play collegiately, and what level she would play at, which ended up being one of the toughest decisions she would make in her hockey career, she said.

Andi Husted has played in 101 games as a Blugold, and said she has been extremely lucky.

From the moment Collins first saw Andi Husted play in high school while recruiting, he said he noticed her work ethic on the ice and saw the kind of leadership she could bring to the Eau Claire program.

Not only did Collins see the leadership Husted brings to the table though, her teammates voted her team captain coming into the 2014-2015 season.

Junior goalie Paige Turner said that Husted brings strong leadership to the team, but she brings out the best in her team which is more important in her eyes.

“Not only does Andi bring leadership but she holds us all to a higher standard,” Turner said. “No matter if you’re a freshman or a senior she always asks for your best and that you work hard on and off the ice.”

Andi Husted said she takes being the captain of her team as an honor because of how her teammates think of her and look up to her at times, but doesn’t look at herself any different just because of her title.

Instead of acting different because of her captain status, she said she just continues to practice like any team member would and lets her actions on the ice and hard work set an example for her teammates.

Collins said Husted is the type of player and person that understands what it takes to get the job done and earn her teammates trust and respect.

“Any leader of any group needs respect among peers,” Collins said. “Andi is one of the few at this level that understands this, and can juggle all the stress that comes with leadership at this age.”

Although Andi Husted’s final season as a Blugold is winding down and her senior night has passed, she said the emotions haven’t hit her yet because she still has playoffs to focus on.

But for a father like Jim Husted, the memories made on senior night while seeing his daughter play he said were special and exciting, and ones he will never forget.