Hockey people

Let the Sunshine In

Men's and women's hockey captains take renovation of Appleton Arena In stride.

Victoria O’Heir ’20 and Deborah Dudley

“I remember being a Pee Wee (8 years old) and we had a player from the University of Minnesota come skate at one of our practices,” recalls Saints men’s hockey co-captain Dylan Woolf  ’21, “I thought it was the coolest thing ever, and from that point on, I wanted to play college hockey.” 

After graduating from Holy Family Catholic High School in Minnesota, where he played ice hockey and golf, Woolf went on to play three years of junior hockey in the USHL for the Lincoln Stars before arriving at St. Lawrence in the fall of 2017. 

In addition to the academic rigor Woolf endures as an economics major with minors in statistics and sports studies and exercise science, he describes the demands of the team’s athletic schedule: “On an average day, we spend four to five hours at the rink. That includes practice, a workout, stretching, and going over film,” says Woolf.  “Bus trips range anywhere from three to seven hours. We get to the rink Thursday evening, drop our equipment off, then go to team dinner. Friday morning, we have team breakfast and head to a pregame skate, team lunch, and review film before the puck drop at 7 p.m. that evening.” On Saturday, they do it all again before a very late drive back to Canton. 

Now in his third season, Woolf explains that one of his primary goals is to show the younger players early on what is required. “I try to set the tone and be an example to all of the guys on the team, especially the younger guys, to get them to realize what being a college hockey player takes on a daily basis.” 

Saints defeat Clarkson for the return to Appleton Arena on January 18, 2020.

The 2019–20 season has introduced an additional challenge for both men's and women's team to manage—the renovations of Appleton Arena. With renovations in full swing, the teams have had to adjust to commuting to the local rink at SUNY Canton, where they have temporarily relocated. “We knew from day one that we were going to start at SUNY Canton,” says Woolf, “so, we approached that coming into the season as ‘wherever we are going to leave our gear, that’s where we are going to call home.’” 

Kalie Grant '20, captain of the women's team, agrees and says the team's work ethic has not changed and they are grateful to SUNY Canton's for their hospitality while SLU's home rink is being rebuilt. 

Unlike the Minnesota native, the road to being on the ice at Appleton started for Grant in her own backyard. As a Potsdam, New York, native, Grant has grown up as part of competitive North Country hockey community her entire life. 

Like Woolf, Grant was a decorated multi-sport athlete in high school before focusing on hockey for her college career. She was the captain of the hockey, soccer, and lacrosse teams for the Potsdam Sandstoners and no stranger to academic rigor herself as  valedictorian of her class, an Academic All-America selection in lacrosse and a member of the National Honor Society and the French Honor Society. 

“It is really exciting to drive past Appleton and see the progress they have been making,” says Grant. “It is also exciting for our underclassmen, who will be able to experience this for years to come, and for future Saints.”

There is a lot that Grant is looking forward to. “Definitely the new strength and conditioning room, expanding our space there will be beneficial to us off ice,” she says, but notes that it’s not just athletes, who will benefit. “In general they are doing so much for the fans, too, and adding a ton of rooms, lounges, to really bring the fan engagement up at St. Lawrence.”

Along with the new strength and conditioning facilities, locker rooms, and upgrades to the arena’s technologies, Woolf, too, is excited to experience the new architecture of Appleton Arena. 

“I am a big fan of the sunshine,” says Woolf. “Any time I wake up and see the sun shining, it is an automatic great day. To have the front glass open and show some natural light coming through, that is going to make my day every time walking into Appleton.”

History and Traditions of Appleton Arena