During the visit, the girls, many of whom are members of minorities, were drawn to defender Kelsey Koelzer. Like them, Koelzer, who is African-American, played much of her youth in secondhand equipment and was raised by a single parent who struggled to accommodate the costly expenses of hockey.
The girls peppered Koelzer with questions. Koelzer was struck by the encounter, too; her mother, Kristine, still remembers her daughter talking about the effect the visit had.
Koelzer and Nurse, a forward at Wisconsin, are two of college hockey’s top players and rising stars in their national-team programs. With increased visibility, they recognize their capacity to motivate a generation of young girls from similar backgrounds.
Read more: Two black women embrace their chance to be hockey role models