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tBBC Ten Questions With Ohio State Women’s Ice Hockey Coach – Jenny Potter


Ten Questions With Ohio State Women’s Ice Hockey Coach – Jenny Potter
via our good friends at Buckeye Battle Cry
Visit their fantastic blog and read the full article (and so much more) here


This past Friday (July 1st) I had the pleasure of talking with The Ohio State University Women’s Ice Hockey Head Coach – Jenny Potter. She is quite the decorated athlete (of which you will learn more of as we move along). I enjoyed the short time that I spent with her and I know without question all of Buckeye Nation will enjoy our conversation as well. So shall we move along?

tBBC: Coming from a small town in Minnesota, Edina; which I do understand that Minnesota is huge on hockey – but how did hockey come to you – or was it you to hockey?

Coach Potter: It was a little bit of both. As you mentioned I grew up in small town Minnesota. My Dad and my Mom use to just take me down to the rink and we would play around some and eventually hockey would happen. My Dad and Mom were always into exercising. This was such a natural way for us to do that and have fun. I now know that in Columbus it is a little different. I don’t mind when it’s warmer. But I do miss the colder winters so that I can get out and play some. I notice that when it’s colder a lot of kids get out on the rinks, the frozen ponds, and so on, and just have fun. That’s what hockey is – a lot of fun.

tBBC: You have won All-American Honors in all four years of College. With the University of Minnesota Duluth you won a NCAA Title in 2003. Your amazing accolades don’t stop there … You are a Minnesota Duluth Athletic Hall of Fame Inductee and a three-time Patty Kazmaier Award Finalist; you are the Bulldogs’ all time leading scorer and share the NCAA record for goals in a game with six. In the 1999-00 season you led the nation in scoring; you were named the Western Collegiate Hockey Association’s Player of the Year, of which you also received in the 2002-03 season… You are the 2nd youngest player to ever make Team USA – Gold came your way in the 1998 Olympics, Silver in the 2002 and 2010 Olympics and the Bronze in 2006. In 2010 you led the US in scoring and became the first Olympic player to net hat tricks in back to back games while also setting a US single-game record with five points. I am talking to a true legend here aren’t I! Is there any special award, event, or notice that stands out the most to you – that you are the proudest of?

Coach Potter: The accomplishments are what kept driving me. I always had challenged myself to become the best player that I was capable of being. Chasing that first Gold Medal in ’98 – that is something I will never forget. That is something pretty special. Winning a National Championship is also super special – and not only did we win a National Championship but we won it in double overtime and in Duluth Minnesota. So that was like icing on the cake. Those are two very special moments but then again being part of an Olympics Gold winning Team is what it is about. I think that everyone that competes tries for the Gold Medal. There are not many who walk away with a medal, let alone a Gold one. So that is the one thing that is special to have. Not many people have that opportunity. I think of that.

tBBC: Do you stay in touch with Maria Rooth, Hanne Sikio, Erika Holst, Brittany Ralph, Navada Russell, and Tuula Puputti? (Members of the NCAA 2003 Champions University of Minnesota at Duluth)

Coach Potter: They are all from different countries and so the experience of all these different cultures … is wonderful. I try to stay in touch … I cannot say that I have been the best at it – especially with staying in touch with my family and all that I have going on now, it sometimes is not easy. But when I do see them in International events we do chat and catch up. I will be going to an International event in Finland and I will see Tuula Puputti there, not sure if anyone else on that list will be there. I did see Erika Holst last year and we chatted. It is a small world and as long as those players are still involved in Women’s Ice Hockey and keep elevating its values and the sport itself we will be in touch. It’s the circles and we will cross paths. I wish I could say I am better at staying in touch with some of the great people in my past, but I could certainly be better.

tBBC: As a coach for the Trinity College Bantams you led them to their first conference championship (NESCAC) and their second NCAA tournament berth in program history, as the squad concluded the 2014-15 season with a 18-7-2 record. You have coached High School too. Now you are in Columbus. When you move to different levels is there an adjustment in coaching that transpires or does the basic philosophy always remain the same?

Coach Potter: I think the philosophy is always the same. It’s like all sports. You teach. I think I am setting such a high bar. I think it is always a plus to have an idea of what you can accomplish and just by being myself, that person who has that drive of competitiveness, and now being a Coach, I know that edge they have and that they want, even though they do not know it exists within themselves. To me coaching is coaching – it doesn’t matter if you are teaching High School kids or College aged players. You know they want to be hockey players or they wouldn’t be there and it’s my job to find their special skills or talents and to teach to the level they can reach.

tBBC: I feel that everyone at The Ohio State University, students, professors, coaches, every employee, no matter the job, have a special spot on campus they yearn for either quiet time or positive interaction. Do you have such a spot on The Ohio State University’s campus and if so where is it?

Coach Potter: Personally? I like the Oval. I like the outdoors. I love the quiet it offers. I enjoy just walking around so that would definitely be the place. Some might say Mirror Lake, but, you know, I come from the ‘Land of 10,000 Lakes’! So, yeah, The Oval!

tBBC: You are now a member of The Ohio State University and undoubtedly you have heard of the names, the stories – is there any special athlete you are most fond of that once called OSU home?

Coach Potter: One of the most well known would be Jesse Owens. I mean all that he accomplished as an athlete and a person, especially in the era that he did it – the controversies he faced. For sure he is the first name that comes to my mind of one, if not, the best that came from this University. As a hockey player I often lean towards thinking of hockey greats, of which OSU has had. Then of course the other sports! This university with their tradition and power they generate has many great athletes’ alumni. But I would have to say Jesse Owens is the commanding leader.

tBBC: How big is it in the loss of Julia McKinnon and Cara Zubko and who can we look forward to this coming season that will have us raising the rafters?

Coach Potter: Yeah definitely a big loss – those two – great players, great athletes. Hopefully we can fill their shoes the best we can. We have Jincy Dunne who got injured last year and we are looking forward to her coming back. She has fantastic potential, a true impact player with the ability to be a superstar in this league. There’s also Kassidy Sauve who will be able to stop some goals for us. These two are essential in our filling in the puzzle pieces for next season.

tBBC: Is there anyone who shared some valuable advice to you in your past that to this day you treasure, what is this wondrous advice … and if you like you can share with us from whom?

Coach Potter: Wow! I have had a lot of wonderful advice from so many. You gonna make me think one out, huh? I have had so many great people in my life that offered great advice at the time in my life when it was needed. I guess my Dad. He was there throughout. He helped me get where I wanted to be. He was such a huge and important part of all of this. The little things that he taught me that stuck with me. My husband too – he helped me to maintain who I am and in excelling and becoming even better; even in coaching just watching him and how he does things, handles things. It is so valuable. Often the best advice isn’t always words of wisdom but witnessing someone’s actions. You see in that a truth. The way they handle themselves is important. My Dad use to always tell me when I was trying harder and harder, the competitiveness level I was in was big, he use to always tell me that you never stay the same. You either get better or you get worse. In other words never become complacent. Even with the Gold Medal in the Olympics there’s always something else chasing you. Never give up. You must continue for that next plateau. You must always move forward, not stay in place, or move backwards. No on wins in that.

tBBC: What advice do you give young athletes when they clearly seek what you have obtained. After all you’ve been there, tasting the victories, and you understand the hard work and dedication to get to the level where you have been. Is there anything special you pass onto them that holds strong when they listen to you?

Coach Potter: I don’t know how much they listen to me. It is human nature, I think, to voice something from the heart, and to go towards things that you are good at. But to get to the things that you want there is always something you must get past that you don’t like. It’s like asking players how many of you like doing pull-ups? Not many hands come up. Then when you see this you ask how many of them can do a pull-up? Again not many hands come up. I feel like they have to learn to love what they don’t and become the best at that before you can be the best at what you do love – which is hockey here – that we are speaking of. I tell athletes to do the tough work, work hard at it. Then the sport you are going out for will benefit from your accomplishments – from the things you never dreamed you were capable of doing. It makes you the best at what you do. I tell them that there’s no substitute for hard work. Work hard at everything that you do. Because in that – you’ll become great at something … it may not be hockey but it may be something you do in school, or something else. You must give it your all. Giving fifty-percent in anything does nothing for you. You will never know the answer to how good you really are.

tBBC: I know you are a Bulldog … but you are a Buckeye now too. Can you share with us what it means to you to be a member of one of the most loyal and intense sports nations in all of America?

Coach Potter: I enjoy it – getting to know all of the traditions. I remember some of it from my WCHA days, but now really being a part of campus and seeing it from more of an insider’s perspective I enjoy the things about the school, the extended family atmosphere, the community. The Buckeyes do all of this. It is so wonderful; we are all one big family. And when you go anywhere you have your traditions and you are a part of this family forever – so it is something really special. I have enjoyed my experiences and look forward to much more.

Once again I’d like to thank Coach Potter for the time she allowed me. I found her refreshing, forthright, and inspirational. Once our conversation ended and I sat quietly in my room to my own thoughts – I was ready to tackle the world. Coach Potter is a fantastic motivational teacher. The Ohio State University Athletic Department knew what they were doing in landing Coach Potter for their Women’s Ice Hockey Program – getting an up-and-coming future Coach that will deliver wins for a School that is used to them. Get ready Buckeye Nation – Coach Potter is the real deal. Great things are soon to happen in Columbus.

The post Ten Questions With Ohio State Women’s Ice Hockey Coach – Jenny Potter appeared first on The Buckeye Battle Cry: Ohio State News and Commentary.

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