PHOTO BY TOM MORRIS
#NWHLxWISS is a series in partnership with accounting firm WISS that highlights the careers, interests and stories of women in the NWHL as well as women working at WISS.
Sadie Lundquist grew up immersed in Minnesota hockey -- and she’s never left. A native of Cloquet, Minnesota, and an alum of Bemidji State, Lundquist is now a forward on the Minnesota Whitecaps and also works in sales and fan relations for the Minnesota Wild.
“It’s basically my dream job,” Lundquist said of her role with the Wild.
She works with existing clients, maintaining over 700 fan accounts. “No two days are the same,” Lundquist said. “Some days it’s a 9-5 desk job, but when there are games, we don’t operate like a normal 9-5. On game days, I’m at the office at 9 doing the day-to-day stuff, and then in the afternoon it transitions to game mode. Fans start coming into the building at 5. I oversee people coming in and making sure they’re getting in in a timely fashion and making sure everyone has a good time. We’re in the arena until the building clears, which is sometimes after 11.”
At Bemidji State, Lundquist studied sports management and business and feels lucky to have found a career that lands right between her two majors. And it doesn’t hurt that it’s working with the team that she grew up watching and in a sport she loves.
“As an athlete, you always have a drive to work towards something you’re passionate about,” said Lundquist. “I knew I wanted to be somewhere where I was passionate about what I was doing all day. And the great people I work with make it even better.”
Last season, before the NWHL had announced the addition of the Whitecaps to the league, the NWHL took its All-Star Game to TRIA Rink in Saint Paul. Lundquist was invited to participate as a representative of the Whitecaps. The All-Star Game sold out -- most certainly foreshadowing to the incredible sell-out crowds the team has drawn for every one of its home games since officially joining the NWHL.
With the expansion to Minnesota, Lundquist officially signed with the NWHL Whitecaps in August. Now playing professionally and working for a professional team, Lundquist has never strayed far from the world of hockey in Minnesota.
“I’m incredibly blessed, and I don’t take it for granted,” said Lundquist of the ability to continue to play hockey in her home state. “When you graduate college, it’s easy to lose that identity. But now with the Whitecaps and the NWHL, I’m still a hockey player.”
And shortly after the NWHL announced its expansion to Minnesota, the Wild announced a partnership with the Whitecaps. The Wild had partnered with the NWHL to host the All-Star Game, and became the third NHL team to partner with its NWHL counterpart (there are now four since the Bruins announced their partnership with the Pride in early January).
“It was really exciting being from Minnesota and having your worlds collide like that,” said Lundquist. “It gave me a sense of pride that the two things I love most are combining and creating all these amazing opportunities.”
And though Lundquist’s schedule is a busy one, she fully embraces her hectic hockey life. In addition to her roles with the Wild and the Whitecaps, she often helps out with youth hockey initiatives around Minnesota. “I just want to do anything I can to help grow the game,” she said.
Minnesota hockey is in Sadie Lundquist’s blood -- and she wouldn’t have it any other way.
“I didn’t know what to expect,” she said of the Whitecaps’ first season in the NWHL. “I didn’t know if we would sell out past the first weekend. But every weekend it continued, and it got even harder to get tickets.
“At the Boston game (in Minnesota), the result didn’t go our way, but the autograph line was still so long. There were so many kids there, and they didn’t care about the score. They just wanted to talk to us and tell us what position they played. The excitement definitely hasn’t fizzled. It’s truly exceeded my expectations.”