For the Love of the Game: WIH Alumni in the Pros

by Matt Levin

When men’s ice hockey players graduate from Northeastern, the best go pro, either to the NHL or to foreign leagues. But what happens to all the amazing women’s hockey players who went to Northeastern?

Well, many do the same.

Chelsey Goldberg was a forward on Northeastern’s women’s team from 2011-15. Over her four year collegiate career, Goldberg scored four goals and nine assists and won two Beanpot Championships. While she had an impressive college career, she dealt with multiple injuries, including breaking both her legs in the span of a year when she was 18. 

Goldberg was drafted sixth overall in the 2015 Canadian Women’s Hockey League’s (CWHL) draft to the Boston (now Worcester) Blades. 

“For someone who broke both legs and experienced many injuries, being able to play pro allowed me to fulfill what I missed in college while I was out,” Goldberg said. “Now playing against the best competition in the world allowed me to fulfill my dream that I missed out on in college.”

For Goldberg, playing at Northeastern greatly helped her prepare for the professional leagues. “The coolest thing about college hockey is playing against the best talent in that age group,” Goldberg said. “Also, a lot of my competition in college are people I am playing against now.”

Playing professionally is a lot different than playing at Northeastern because of what goes on off the ice. 

Goldberg states that, “Playing pro entails a lot of self motivation and commitment because we have to work full time. In college, you build an academic schedule around an athletic schedule, but in the pros, we have to balance it with 9-5 jobs because we don’t get a pay large check. Practices are late, usually starting at 10:30 at night, some of us do not get home until 1:00 a.m. Then we have to be at work the next day at 8:00 a.m. It’s different than college because we have to manage our own lives outside of hockey, as well.” 

Players in the CWHL earn a stipend of between $2,000 and $10,000 a season. 

Earlier this year, things turned for the worst when the CWHL discontinued operations. Goldberg had just finished her third season in the league when the announcement came. 

“The CWHL folded to give the opportunity for a more sustainable league to be built,” Goldberg said. “We haven’t gotten the support that we need. The CWHL decided it would be in players’ best interest to fold. We are now fighting for equality and are confident that we will get the support we need. We will be continuing the fight as long as we can. I am in it for the game, to grow the game for the younger generations. I am going to keep fighting as long as I can.”

Brooke White-Lancette has a different professional experience than Goldberg as she plays in the National Women’s Hockey League (NWHL). She is currently playing for the Minnesota Whitecaps and has been a part of the team for 16 seasons. White-Lancette has had an incredible professional experience so far.

“The welcoming we’ve had from all our fans, selling out every game in our stadium, stepping out on ice and hearing the roars has been an unbelievable experience,” White-Lancette said.

White-Lancette was a star player at Northeastern from 1998-2003. Northeastern helped her greatly prepare for the NWHL. 

“What our coaches preached then is true now. Be professional, be on time, and always give 110 percent,” she said. 

In four seasons at Northeastern, she scored 45 goals and had 72 assists. 

However, playing professionally has been an entirely different experience for White-Lancette than playing at Northeastern.

“Playing at Northeastern was unbelievable as well. The competition was always great and now being able to play against some of the top women in the nation has been a test for all of us. Last year, we won the Isabel Cup which is a testament to how well we did in the league,” White-Lancette said. 

“In professional hockey everything is magnified.”