PHOTO BY CRIS HARBAUGH
Jamie Goldsmith of the Connecticut Whale is a coach’s dream player. One who is willing to do whatever is necessary to help her team win. Play on her off-wing? No problem. Serve a team penalty? No problem. Take face-offs? No problem.
“Goldy is one of those core players you need to have on your team because she is always consistent. Consistent with her devotion to the team, consistent with her immense work ethic, and consistent with her support for her teammates,” said Shannon Doyle, Goldsmith’s teammate for the past two seasons. “Goldy is the type of player that is completely about the team - it is easy to say and you hear this a lot, a player is about the team first. But Goldy can play on the first line with her skills and talent, but also plays penalty kill because she blocks shots; she would play defense for us if we had injuries.”
We asked Goldsmith would she rather score a goal or block a shot to help her team win. “It’s more within my role to block a shot,” she said, “but it’s always a good feeling to get the game-winner.”
Goldsmith and the Whale play their third game of a three-game homestand on Sunday, hosting the Minnesota Whitecaps for the first time this season at 3 PM ET at Terry Conners Rink for Military Appreciation Day. Tickets are available at NWHL.zone/tickets.
The recently turned 28-year-old Goldsmith thought her playing career was over when she finished her college eligibility, but now she is one of coach Ryan Equale’s most versatile players, a utility player that he can implement in a variety of ways for his game-day lineup. As Doyle noted, Goldsmith, a forward, could play defense if needed and in college at St. Lawrence University she did exactly that.
“I was a forward my whole life and then in my sophomore year, I had the opportunity to move back and play defense. It was something that the team needed and I accepted,” Goldsmith told us. “I’ve been able to play a couple of different roles on the teams I’ve played on.”
It’s definitely helped her have a deeper understanding of the game and her teammates as she’s grown and matured as a player over the years. “As a player, I have an understanding of what different players are going through in different situations,” Goldsmith explained. “I could have some sympathy for them. Certainly, as a coach, it helps to know the mindset of both positions.”
When she’s not skating alongside her Whale teammates Goldsmith serves as coach of the girl's hockey team at The Gunnery in Washington, Connecticut, and works in the Admissions Department as well. “Coaching is something I always knew I could fall back on, and truthfully I don’t think I ever thought of doing anything else in my life,” she replied when asked if she always knew she’d be coaching hockey at some level.
“It’s been a really fun thing for me to do, especially at the high school level. I’m enjoying it and hope that I can do it for a while. It’s hard to walk away from a game like hockey that has given you so much.”
PHOTO BY BRYAN JOHNSON
As one of the elder players in the league at the age of 28, the NWHL didn’t exist when she finished her college career. So it wasn’t exactly a dream of hers to play pro hockey, but Goldsmith is happy that her current coach reached out to her when he did two summers ago.
“I really truthfully thought I was done playing hockey; I had gotten a concussion in December of my senior year (2012-13),” she revealed. “It kind of fell into my lap. I had moved to Connecticut for a job and got a call from Coach Equale asking if I wanted to be a part of the Whale. It was an opportunity I couldn’t turn away. My 12-year-old self looking at myself now would have been upset with me if I ever turned that opportunity down.”
Now in her second season with the Whale in Stamford, she is starting to see the team really come together as a group, and be competitive on a weekly basis which wasn’t always the case during her rookie season. “I think for us it’s the commitment to the little things, the process. Being from Philly, the 76ers always talk about committing to or trusting the process.”
“Something that our team really does is we really commit to each other - both on the ice when we’re at practice, but also away from the rink too; making sure we keep in communication with each other. We’re really committed to the little things and that’s starting to add up,” said Goldsmith. “We definitely come from a team-first mentality, we don’t have any individuals that are more worried about what they are getting out of the experience. Everyone is really worried about what we are getting out of it as a team."