Many people are buzzing this year over one incoming freshman: Hannah Brandt. The star forward from Hill-Murray is now ready to take on the challenge of college hockey after destroying the high school ranks. She was awarded the highest honor last season by winning the Ms. Hockey award, which is given to the top high school player in the state of Minnesota. She had 59 goals and 31 assists to justify that award. She will be one of three girls on the Gophers with the title of Ms. Hockey, joining current Gophers Bethany Brausen and Becky Kortum. She has been in the elite, playing with Team USA, both in the U-18’s and now at the National Festival in Blaine, Minnesota. Go to the USA Hockey website to find out details on seeing the women live.
Here is the interview I did with the incoming freshman, Hannah Brandt.
Jeff Examiner- Assuming you could have went anywhere to play hockey, why Minnesota?
Hannah Brandt- I chose Minnesota for a few reasons. The first one, is that I have grown up a big Gopher fan and have always wanted to play for them. It’s also a good choice for me, because it’s close to home so my friends and family will be able to come watch some games. Lastly, the University of Minnesota is a great school, which was very important to me when choosing a school.
JE- What kind of impact do you expect to have in your freshman year?
HB- I am so excited for freshman year. I expect to learn a lot from the older players and from the coaches. I also hope to help the team in any way that I can and do the best in whatever roles I am given.
JE- What are your goals for the upcoming season?
HB- I am really just focused on doing everything possible to help the team be successful. Whatever that takes from me is what I want to do. My ultimate goal, along with the rest of the team, would be to defend the National Championship that they won last year. That would be an amazing experience and something that I really want to do.
JE- Do you think there is added pressure on you to score after the Gophers lost all of those seniors?
HB- There are definitely some huge holes to fill with the senior class from last year leaving. It was a very special group and they were fun to watch. I think there is added pressure on everyone to step up and score after losing a lot of scoring but that is just part of the game. I think the sooner all of us freshmen can contribute, the better for the team.
JE- What kind of experience has it been working with Team USA?
HB– Working with Team USA has been an amazing experience. The speed of the game is so fast which makes it fun and I enjoy learning from and watching all of the talented players. I think my experiences with the team will really help me in adjusting to the speed of the college game.
JE- Do you have a major in mind?
HB- I am currently undecided. I am happy about this because the U has so many majors and I look forward to finding one that I am interested in.
JE- What has been different so far with college hockey as opposed to last year?
HB- College hockey is a huge step up in speed as opposed to high school. This means you have to make decisions a lot faster. Also, the college game has much more of an emphasis on systems and strategies. In high school it was a much simpler game and there was less thinking involved. I look forward to the new challenge and hope to adjust to the speed as quickly as possible.
JE- Has there been any surprises or things you didnt see coming in your brief college experience?
HB- I can’t really pick out any one thing that has surprised me or that I didn’t see coming. I think once I start school and living on campus then that might change but so far nothing has really happened that stands out to me.
JE- How have your teammates welcomed you in so far?
HB- The players who stayed in Minnesota this summer have been very welcoming and it has been great getting to know some of them. They have already made all of the freshman feel like part of the team which is really nice and makes the transition to a new team much easier. I am really looking forward to the season starting and getting to know the rest of the team.
All the best in the future to Hannah and a big thanks for doing the interview. She really has the tools to be a great Gopher and I look forward to seeing her play for the next four years.
What do you think Brandt will do in maroon and gold?
Thanks for reading!