In my first series highlighting female hockey players from the state of Vermont, I sat down with Connecticut Whale defender Maggie LaGue who agreed to terms with the team last Wednesday. LaGue is from and still lives in Barre, VT. It comes as no surprise that Vermont is starting to get noticed again for its female hockey players. In the past few months, we’ve seen three players who have signed or been drafted by a professional team, two of which have been women (Maggie LaGue, Amanda Conway and Tom Aubrun). However, it’s Olympian Amanda Pelkey who Maggie looks up to.
Deep Hockey Roots In The Family
Hockey runs deep in the LaGue family as Maggie’s dad played for Norwich University, her older sister Kaitlyn was a goalie who played at UVM and her cousin Nikki has recently committed to Robert-Morris University. When Maggie first started playing hockey, she didn’t want to be a blue-liner. “I wanted to be a goaltender, but my sister was already a goaltender and my parents said it would be too expensive to have two goaltenders,” said LaGue.
Born and raised in Vermont, Maggie started her hockey career playing for the Barre Blades and then Green Mountain Glades which was a boy’s team. However, when the boys started to grow and checking became a bigger part of the game, she would end switching over to play for a girl’s travel team before playing at NAHA before going to college.
Shining On And Off The Ice
LaGue would go on to have a strong four years at Robert Morris University, playing in 141 games where she put up 13 goals and 79 assists for 92 points. Those assists and points are currently a program high. “It’s definitely cool, it was definitely a team effort,” said Lague when talking about the feat. One of the factors she mentions that led to those numbers was the fact that she was having fun playing the game.
It wouldn’t only be on the ice where Maggie would make a huge impact for Robert Morris. In her senior year, she would head up the Teddy Bear Toss which raised over $3,200 dollars for Autism. “I have family members who have autism and so that’s something that’s always been a part of my life and being able to do something that hits close to home for the greater Pittsburgh community was something I really wanted to do. A teammate and I tagged teamed it, but overall, it was a very stressful project,” said LaGue.
Draft Day Decisions
Heading into the 2018 NWHL Draft, LaGue had no idea she was going to be drafted. “It was a really nice surprise,” said LaGue. It would be on December 19th, 2018 when Maggie LaGue found out she would be playing professional hockey. “I remember exactly what I was doing. I was home on winter break and at an internship looking to earn a little bit of extra money and an email came in from our head media person. At first, I thought it was spam,” laughed LaGue. However, just a few days earlier, she thought her hockey career had come to a close.
However, the next season, she would opt to play in the PWHPA instead of the NWH., “It’s kind of a weird story. Two days earlier, I was in a TJ MAXX with my mom and I had a job lined up and I didn’t want to pursue it (Talking about hockey) unless there was interest,” said LaGue. The PWHPA allowed her to play the game she loves while still keeping her job. She knew that regardless, she wanted to be involved in the hockey community. Heading into next season, LaGue said she feels a lot more settled than last year. She also believes that she’ll be able to keep her job during the season as well.
NWHL And Vermont Growth
When asked about why the NWHL doesn’t get as much notice as the NHL, LaGue mentioned a few factors that play into it. “I think it’s just because of how new it is and we’re just getting our foot in the door and it’s such a niche sport,” said LaGue. She also brought that question back to her home state by saying, “We have to get more girls involved in the sport and to stick with it and we see a lot of that in Vermont as well,” she said. “Once you get to my age, you just wanna have fun and keep playing,” LaGue said. She recently spent time coaching where she made it known to girls that playing professional hockey was possible if you work hard at it.
When asked about possibly playing on the same team as fellow Vermonter Amanda Conway, LaGue said she was looking forward to it. “I think I’ll be really fun. Us Vermonters gotta stick together, there aren’t a ton of us that are playing. It will be really fun having that connection,” said LaGue. She also mentioned that the family Norwich connection goes back to when her dad played there and mentioned that her family still has season tickets for the Cadets.
It will definitely be exciting if we start to see more NWHL and PWHPA players coming out of Vermont. There’s no question that Maggie and Amanda have definitely paved the way for the future over the last few months.