After leaving her hometown of Annapolis, Lacey Eden hit the world stage with the U.S. women’s national U-18 hockey team, collecting a silver medal in 2019 and gold in 2020. She earned accolades for her team’s victoryas the tournament’s “most favorable forward” and highest scorer, becoming a bonafide rising star.
The pandemic, however, wreaked havoc on her college plans. Eden, who committed to Princeton, lost her freshman season when the Ivy League on Nov. 12 became the first major Division I conference to cancel its winter sports season.
So as Eden, who spent her first two high school years at Archbishop Spalding, continues on the path towards a potential professional career, she pivoted and set her sights on another school with sky-high standards: University of Wisconsin.
The Badgers (6-2), ranked No. 1 in the nation in the latest U.S. College Hockey Online poll, announced the addition of Eden last Thursday, and she immediately made an impact. She blocked a shot and had five shots in Wisconsin’s 5-0 win over then-No. 1 Minnesota on Friday, and the next day she scored her first goal in the opening period of the Badgers’ 6-3 win over the Gophers.
Eden learned to play ice hockey with U.S. Naval Academy Club Hockeybefore switching to the Washington Little Caps. She tranferred from Spalding to Shattuck St. Mary’s in Minnesota as a junior.
Though Eden chose Princeton, Wisconsin was always on her list. She admires the the legacy, the line of former Badgers-turned-Olympians, and the fan-powered environment their women’s hockey program draws — pre-pandemic, at least.
And, of course, there’s the level of competition, something the 5-foot-8 forward wants to maintain after her time with the national team.
“[The national team,] it’s with the best of the best girls in the country,” Eden said. “I feel like this is the closest that you get when you’re not with those girls because, obviously, you still have a ton of the girls who competed nationally on this Wisconsin roster. So practices every day have to prepared for that next level, which is my goal.”
That next level has reached its own new heights in visibility recently. The National Women’s Hockey League, beginning its sixth season this week, will have its biggest games — the 2021 Isobel Cup semifinals and finals — air on NBC Sports Network.
The league also increased its roster size to allow each of its six teams to dress four lines for its bubble season in Lake Placid, the standard in the NHL.
Though still a freshman, Eden has her sights set.
“Hopefully they’ll be a sustainable league by the time I’m out of college,” Eden said, “and I’ll hop right into that and help grow the game.”
First, Eden is eyeing a more sudden goal: the Western Collegiate Hockey Association title and the NCAA National Championship crown after that.
But Eden is also realistic. She knows the pandemic’s grip could scratch championships this year, just as it did the year before.
Practices and playing games give her a sense of stability, something she said played a “huge factor” in her move to Wisconsin, and that she’s on the right track.
“You just have to keep working during the tough times, even on the days when you’re like, ‘I’m never going to get out of this pandemic,’” Eden said. “It feels good to get over that, lace up the skates and get out there.”
Navy football lends expertise
Two recently retired Navy football seniors made Broadneck student-athletes’ sports-free winter a little brighter. Now-former wide receivers Chase Parrish, whose host is a Broadneck coach, and Emmett Davis, a 2016 Bruins grad, spoke to members of the Broadneck athletic leadership council, which prepared questions for them on what it means to be a leader at the Naval Academy and how their shaping in high school changed when they reached the next level.
Both Parrish and Davis were “vocal leaders” and stars on their respective high school teams, Bruins athletic director Kevin Necessary said, but that changed when the two became Navy football players. The two watched many of their college games mainly from the sidelines, though Davis earned the chance to travel as a senior and appeared in several games. Parrish never saw varsity action but became a role model anyway.
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“What they learned at the Academy is how more important it is to be the example-setter. If the leaders are setting the example of doing the right thing all the time, their impact is worth so much more than their words,” Necessary said. “I thought their positive outlook on everything they deal with was huge.”
Necessary appreciated that the student-athletes were able to hear some of the things the adults preach to them like preparation, having the right attitude every day and overcoming adversity from the mouths of 23-year-olds, and, in Davis’ case, the mouth of the older brother of many of the senior Broadneck athletes’ friend, recent graduate Brendan Davis.
“They were both positive and smiling and laughing. For high school kids at these times, when they’re feeling like everything’s being taken away from them, it was nice to see a younger generation of leaders being very positive with these guys,” Necessary said. “They’re the kind of people who don’t even know they’re leading when they’re leading. That’s what we try to get our kids to understand.”
Cougars break records on big stage
Just because the Anne Arundel public school winter season is staying virtual doesn’t mean that county athletes aren’t still shooting for new accomplishments.
Two Chesapeake seniors, Hayden Healey and Garrett Bivens, stamped their names in the school’s record books as each broke the existing school indoor track record in the 3,200 meters at the Virginia Showcase this past weekend.
The pair ran in the sixth heat of the boys 3,200 high school division. Healey completed the race in 9:35.46 to place second in the heat and 15th overall while Bivens finished in 9:42.84 and came in fourth in the heat and 25th overall, both well above their seeds of 34th and 44th, respectively.