For anyone who has follow the Minnesota Women’s Hockey team, you know that Hannah Brandt will go down as one of the best to ever put on the Maroon and Gold. The Gophers all-time leading scorer who graduated in 2016 with 286 points was a surprising snub for the US Olympic Team for the 2014 Sochi Olympics where her teammate Lee Stecklein made the team and won a silver medal with Team USA. Brandt made sure that would not happen again and is on the final centralized USA Roster that will comprise the players who will play in the 2018 Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
The fact that the Olympics are in South Korea are of strong interest to Brandt. Every Olympic Host gets to participate in every even if they so choose. So South Korea will have a women’s hockey team in the 2018 Olympics. Why is this so interesting? Hannah Brandt’s sister, Marissa is a adopted Korean who is a member of the South Korean National Hockey Team and will compete alongside her sister in 2018.
Both the Pioneer Press and Star Tribune have had recent articles on the sisters and their feat. Both sisters played high school hockey at Hill Murray in Maplewood before going on to college feats. Marissa who is one year older than Hannah played at Gustavus Adolphus in St. Peter, while her sister starred at the U. While Hannah made history as a Gopher, Marissa has a non-descript collegiate career. She had her best season at Gustavus as a freshman in scoring 11 points. However, her Minnesotan connections were enough to get her a spot on the South Korean team. From Rachel Blount’s Star Trib article:
The team is coached by Sarah Murray, who played at Minnesota Duluth and Shattuck-St. Mary’s and is the daughter of former NHL coach Andy Murray. Its goalie coach, Rebecca Baker, played at Wisconsin and Shattuck.
Baker cold-called Brandt in 2015 during her senior season at Gustavus, asking if she would be interested in trying out for the South Korean national team. A few weeks later, the team manager sent her a plane ticket.
“He said, ‘See you in a week,’ ” Brandt recalled. “I was terrified. I don’t speak the language. I don’t know anybody there. Nothing was familiar to me.”
While the game will be a complete blowout, lets hope the USA and South Korea match up in the pool round so that the Brandt sisters get to be on the ice at the same team. One team has aspirations of a gold medal, while the other just wants to try and look like they belong, but if the sisters get to face each other on the ice, it will just be a great feel good moment for Minnesotans.