In my third installment of Green Mountain Gals, I sat down with former Boston Pride goaltender and Williston, VT native Madison Litchfield. Hockey was big in the Litchfield family as her older brother played as well. “I’ve always joked my dad put me on skates and my mom put me on skis and my dad won out,” said Litchfield. When it comes to being a goaltender, Litchfield gave a simple response. “My brother needed someone to shoot on.”
Standing at only 5’2, Litchfield doesn’t exactly have the height as most goaltenders and most people doubted that she’d make it to the collegiate level. “Goaltending is such an angles game and any goaltending coach will tell you I’m a nightmare to work with because I have no angles,” said Litchfield.
However, don’t be fooled. Litchfield says that during her playing days, she was a rink rat. Before joining the Catamounts, Litchfield would be a major fan of the team. “I would go to games when they would play Boston College and Boston University and it would be hard to cheer against them,” said Litchfield.
Bumpy Ride In Burlington
Her first two years at UVM didn’t go as expected and she wasn’t living up to the hype. In both her Freshmen and Sophomore season, she had a goals-against-average of above 3.00. However, those struggles may have been caused due to a torn labrum that she suffered in her junior year in a game against Northeastern. “I had practices where my shoulder would just keep dislocating,” said Litchfield. “I knew we only had one other goalie and I didn’t want to leave her out to dry,” Litchfield said when talking about holding off on getting the surgery after her sophomore year.
Litchfield’s senior year was a redemption year after head coach Jim Plumer would bring in goaltender Melissa Black who was a transfer student from Union College. “When I came back, Jim and I had a talk and all I asked was that he starts me and Melissa on the same playing field,” said Litchfield. She would end up earning her starting job back and would have the best year of her career. “I woke up one morning and realized I had a .940 save percentage and wasn’t really sure how that happened,” Litchfield joked.
However, one of Litchfield’s favourite memories from her playing days came in a game where she was the backup to Roxanne Douville who would end up making 50 saves in that game. “Rox was amazing, she was making some unbelievable saves that game and staying cool and collective in net,” said Litchfield. When talking about that game, Litchfield mentioned that the team was doing anything to keep the energy up, including passing gummy bears around the locker room. “It was the most fun game we’ve been a part of,” Litchfield said.
The other game that’s on her list is the second game of a best of three-quarter finals against Providence College. “There was no doubt in our minds we were coming back from that series,” said Litchfield. The Catamounts had missed the playoffs the previous season. “It felt like everything had come full circle,” Litchfield said.
Playing To Grow The Game
After college, Litchfield knew she wanted to move back to Boston after she spent time there before college playing for the Boston Shamrocks. “I continued playing hockey for the next generation of young girls,” Litchfield said. It would be after a Beantown tournament where she would get noticed by the Pride and be offered a contract.
She would spend three years with the Pride, but only saw action in a handful of games. “I knew I was coming in to backup Brittany Ott and I wasn’t gonna get much starting time,” said Litchfield. Like most girls who are playing professionally, Litchfield found it hard to make a living while playing hockey. “My decision to step away came down to working a full-time job. I was working 7:00am to 7:00pm and waking up to workout at 5:00 and being at the rink by 9:00pm. I found it hard to keep up with,” Litchfield said.
Skates To Sneakers
Since leaving the Pride, Litchfield hasn’t been on the ice much. “I’ve played once since in the past two years and that was for an alumni game at UVM,” said Litchfield. However, the 26-year-old netminder has recently spent the last year training for the Boston Marathon twice. “I figured if there was any time to cross this off my bucket list, it was now seeing that I’m in the best shape of my life,” Litchfield said. She’s running on behalf of 261 Fearless, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the race will be run virtually in September.
When asked about Vermont finally getting back on the map for women’s hockey, Litchfield said, “I would go to all these camps and people wouldn’t know where Vermont is.” She also mentions how far the school has come in the past few years.
Once she’s done with the marathon, Litchfield plans on staying in the game of hockey, whether it’s in a coaching role or playing. When asked if running the marathon could make it easier to get back into hockey shape, Litchfield said running shape and hockey shape are two completely different things.