Bulldogs, Buckeyes share what it’s like to welcome back an Olympic gold medalist – Duluth News Tribune

DULUTH — When Minnesota Duluth drops the puck at the 2022-23 season at 6:45 p.m. Saturday towards Long Island University in East Meadow, New York, Ashton Bell will probably be back within the Bulldogs’ lineup for the primary time since March 18, 2021.

An All-American defenseman who two years in the past complex UMD to the NCAA Frozen Four in Erie, Pennsylvania, with an extra time function, Bell spent the previous yr-plus with the Canadian nationwide and Olympic hockey groups profitable gold medal after gold medal in event finals towards the Americans.

Bell’s go back restores an offensive presence that used to be lacking from the Bulldogs’ blue line a yr in the past once they made the run to the NCAA championship recreation, alternatively, that’s now not an important characteristic she brings in accordance to her trainer and teammates.

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Minnesota Duluth defenseman Ashton Bell (26) celebrates with teammates after scoring the sport-profitable function towards Colgate throughout an NCAA Women’s National Collegiate Ice Hockey Championship quarterfinal recreation on Monday, March 15, 2021 at Erie Insurance Arena in Erie, Pennsylvania.

Clint Austin / File / caustin@duluthnews.com

It’s an inclusive type of management that stretches past the rink, locker room and confines of Amsoil Arena.

“She gets along with everybody and makes sure that everybody is included,” stated Gabbie Hughes, who will serve with Bell and Kylie Hanley as a co-captain this season. “She’s always rallying people to go for bonfires on the on the beach, on the rocks, whatever. So to have that energy back and to have somebody that really gets that kind of stuff going is obviously super huge for the team aspect.”

Bell is one in all two Olympic gold medalists from Team Canada back within the WCHA this season at the side of Ohio State 5th-yr senior ahead Emma Maltais. There are 3 general in NCAA Division I ladies’s hockey staff yr, as ahead Sarah Fillier has returned to Princeton for her true-senior season.

Like the Bulldogs, the Buckeyes are maximum occupied with the management qualities Maltais received from her time centralized with Canada.

Compared to their school program, the place each have been leaders and main members at the stat sheet, Maltais and Bell took on solely other roles with Team Canada. Neither had a assured spot within the lineup, and once they have been dressed, ice time continuously got here at a top class.

“Emma is going to bring something that this program has never seen in her leadership,” stated trainer Nadine Muzerall, whose Buckeyes edged UMD within the ultimate of the Frozen Four at Penn State closing season for this system’s first nationwide championship. “And what I mean by that is, Emma has always been ranked No. 1 on our team in terms of offense and point production. She was centralized and sitting in a locker room where she was a fourth-line center, sometimes not dressing in games. She now can understand and relate to the other players on our team that might not get a lot of ice time.”

Ice Hockey - Preview

Ashton Bell and Emma Maltais of Canada are observed throughout a staff photograph consultation on Feb. 2, 2022, ar Wukesong Sports Centre in Beijing, China, prior to the beginning of the 2022 Olympic ladies’s hockey event. Bell and Maltais gained gold with Canada in Beijing closing wintry weather and are actually each back within the WCHA. Bell returns to Minnesota Duluth and Maltais is with Ohio State.

David W. Cerny / File / Reuters

Maltais or Bell — each 22, turning 23 this wintry weather — have been each centralization newbies with Canada closing season, showing of their first IIHF Women’s World Championship closing August in Calgary and their first Olympics in Beijing. So they took on new roles within the locker room as neatly.

“She was very vocal when she was here, and then when she’s in a locker room surrounded with (Marie-Philip) Poulin and (Natalie) Spooner — your ears are open and your mouth shut,” Muzerall stated of Maltais. “She’s learning a lot and I think she’s going to bring a great amount of knowledge of culture and locker room experience. Her talent on ice speaks for itself of course.”

Maltais — who had a function and an lend a hand in seven Olympic video games in Beijing — had 5 objectives and 11 assists in 20 video games throughout the pandemic-shortened 2020-21 season after posting 19 objectives and 40 assists in 38 video games throughout her closing complete season of 2019-20.

Ice Hockey - Women's Prelim. Round - Group A - United States v Canada

Lee Stecklein of the United States and Emma Maltais of Canada battle for the puck within the 3rd length throughout the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games on Feb. 8, 2022, at Wukesong Sports Centre.

Jonathan Ernst / File / Reuters

Bell — with a function and 4 assists on the Olympics — had 4 objectives and 10 assists within the COVID-19 season of 2020-21 and 11 objectives, plus 21 assists, in 36 video games in 2019-20.

The 11 objectives Bell scored throughout her closing complete season with the Bulldogs used to be the choice of objectives UMD’s defensemen mixed for a yr in the past, even after changing Hanley from ahead to protection (she’s back at ahead this yr).

UMD brings back 5 of its seven complete-time defensemen from closing season’s Frozen Four staff, together with 5th-yr senior Maggie Flaherty, who overlooked the general 15 video games due to harm. In addition to Bell, UMD welcomes in defenseman Tova Henderson, who helped Canada win gold on the fresh IIHF Under-18 Women’s World Championship.

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Minnesota Duluth ahead Ashton Bell (26) shoots the puck towards Wisconsin ahead Lacey Eden (6) on Feb. 27, 2021, at Amsoil Arena in Duluth.

Clint Austin / File / Duluth News Tribune

Both Hughes and Bulldogs trainer Maura Crowell stated Bell’s self belief evokes UMD’s blue liner to be extra offensive and assured of their play. The hope is that leads to extra issues from the defensemen, and now not simply from those that have gained Olympic gold.

“I love to see her out there with her speed on the back end and her offensive ability,” Crowell stated. “It’s just so fun to watch. I really think she inspires that defensive group around her to play a little more freely, a little more offensively, and to try new things.”

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