Kirsten Nergaard: I’d Like to Live Life to the Fullest

Kirsten Nergaard is not your average 19 year old American. She is a sophomore at Yale University studying economics, and an outstanding hockey player as well. Some of her hobbies include sailing, skiing, cooking and reading. She loves music and really became a country music fan when she went to camp in Minnesota. According to her friends and teammates, she is a very friendly and outgoing person, willing to help everyone. For them, Kirsten is a beautiful person, both inside and out. She doesn’t take anything for granted, and works extremely hard to reach her goals. People love her for she is a caring person and a loyal friend. When it comes to hockey, Kirsten is a quiet hard worker, who will always give her best to better herself and her team.

Kirsten Nergaard

MY DAD BUILT A HUGE ICE RINK IN OUR BACKYARD EACH YEAR

My dad is Norwegian, so he absolutely loves all winter sports. He’s the one who  introduced me to skating when I was 2 years old. He built a huge ice rink in our backyard each year (although because the weather is milder where I live in Connecticut, so it didn’t freeze every year). 

I started to play ice hockey at age 5. I looked up to my older brother and wanted to be like him. Of course, my dad was thrilled about it, but my mom initially preferred that I take up another sport. But when she had seen how much I loved it, she changed her mind, and became also incredibly supportive.

My dad built an ice rink in our backyard each winter.

WE COULD PRACTICE AND PLAY UNTIL OUR PARENTS PICKED US UP

When we were little, my girl friends didn’t understand my love for the sport. But as I grew up, I found other friends who also loved the sport. I was lucky because one of the boys that I played hockey with had an indoor rink at his house. All of our teammates practiced there.  We were welcome almost every day – we could practice, play and do our homework until our parents picked us up. It was so much fun! I played on boys’ teams until high school. Then I went away to school, and played on girls varsity team.

AN IMPRESSIVE ATHLETE’S CAREER

When it comes to her athletic experience, the list of Kirsten’s achievements is truly worthy of all attention and admiration. She was selected in all years eligible (2012-2015) to be in the Team USA National Camp. (In the US, in order to reach the national team selection pool, players have to go through both regional and national player development camps. The Team USA national development camp players are selected from the best performers in the regional camps.) 

A hockey jersey is a part of the wardrobe that Kirsten wears every day.

I was selected to my regional camp as a representative of my home state of Connecticut in 2010-2015, as well as to the National Player Development Camps in 2012-2015. When it comes to the School’s competition, in 8th grade at Greenwich Academy, I was a starter on my school’s varsity team. I changed schools for grades 9 through 12 to Phillips Exeter Academy. At Exeter, I was the second highest scorer on the team in grade 9 and in grade 11, and was the high scorer in grade 10. I was also co-MVP that year and selected as one of the best players in the state of New Hampshire (where my school was), which is called “All-State.” I was the captain in grade 12, and although I was hurt and missed half the season, I was still named to the All-State team again.

WE MADE IT TO THE NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP SEMI- FINALS

Lastly, in the US club hockey league, when I was younger (up until age 13), I played boys hockey. Starting in high school, I played on a girls team called the East Coast Wizards. In 2012/13, my team went to the National Championship game for the U 14 age group, and finished runners-up (2nd place). I had 3 goals and 2 assists in the championship tournament. In 2013/14, my team made it to the U 16 National Championship semi-finals (final 4) and I had 4 goals, 2 assists in 5 games in that tournament.

The Yale Girls

YALE AND ME

One of my best memories was playing at the “Yale Whale” when I was 7.  I thought it was a wonderful place and told my parents that same day I would attend Yale and play there. And here I am, 11 years after: some dreams really come true, if you work hard and give your best to reach them.

Another favorite memory was playing on a boys’ pee-wee team at a prestigious tournament in Canada. We had a game in the Pepsi Colisée (where the Quebec Nordiques used to play). I scored and the PA announcer called out the goal, just they do in the pros. I was also interviewed by a Canadian paper during another tournament, which was cool.

‘When I played with boys, I used to wear a skull cap, so the other team wouldn’t know I was a girl.”

I USED TO TUCK THE MY JERSEY INTO MY BREEZERS LIKE GRETZKY

Up until college, I used to roll up my jersey sleeves and have the bottom of my elbow pads showing. I also used to tuck the back of my jersey into my breezers like Wayne Gretzky. Also, when I played with boys, I used to wear an skull cap to hide my long hair, so the other team wouldn’t know I was girl.

TWO MINUTES OF SHAME

If I make a penalty, I definitely wonder if the coach is going to start screaming, but I also think about the brilliant musings of hockey legend Denis Lemieux (from Slap Shot): “You do that, you go to the box, you know. Two minutes, by yourself, you know and you feel shame, you know. And then you get free.”

Kirsten with one of her teammates

I’D LIKE TO LIVE LIFE TO THE FULLEST

When it comes to my future plans, I would like to work in finance to eventually help others raise the capital they require to fund their dreams.

 

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