Women's Ice Hockey Spotlight: Laini MacKay

Colgate Women’s Ice Hockey has had a great season so far (with a record of 21-8-5!). Laini MacKay is a freshman forward on the team and has scored three goals, including the game-winning goal against Dartmouth. Keep reading to learn more about Laini and her experiences playing hockey!

Name: Laini MacKay

Class Year: 2022

Intended major/minor: Biology/Educational Studies

Hometown: Brookfield, WI

Jersey Number: #44

Position: Forward

Has your experience on the team thus far been what you’ve expected or have there been any surprises?

My experience on the team has definitely exceeded my expectations. I came in knowing that I would become very close with my teammates, but was surprised to find that I gained 23 more sisters. As for the hockey, I expected it to be hard to adapt to college hockey, and that was definitely what I experienced in the beginning, but I became more comfortable as the season progressed.

There are a lot of gendered assumptions and stereotypes about hockey and female players in particular. Have you ever had to deal with this? If so, how did you?

I started my hockey career on a boys team with the only other girl being my sister. It was definitely difficult when we wouldn’t get much playing time even though we were as good as, and in most cases, better than, the boys on our team. We also have run into hockey coaches when we were younger who heard that we were also competing in gymnastics, who have said to us, “Gymnastics, now that’s a good sport for a girl!” However, although there are some coaches and people out there in the hockey community who don’t support girls playing hockey, we also grew up with so many supportive people and coaches that never doubted us and our hockey abilities and where they could take us in life.

Any tips for other athletes trying to balance sports, academics, and personal life?

From my experience so far, I definitely recommend procrastinating as little as possible. Although it can be difficult, if you get your work done in your spare minutes between classes and practices, then there will be time to do other things like socialize. I have also realized that during your sports season, obviously academics always come first, and then your sport, and there will be plenty of time in the offseason for other activities that interest you.

Colgate WIH is having a great season so far. What has been your favorite/the most rewarding moment of the season?

The most rewarding moments of this season have been seeing all of our work come together in games. Our team chemistry has been a game changer in big games and it’s really rewarding to know that all the extra work and team bonding counts and makes a difference. Also, finishing the regular season as the second seed in the ECAC was very special too because the ECAC is a very competitive league so we did well!

Describe your proudest moment from playing hockey.

My proudest moment was definitely when I committed to play Division 1 hockey at Colgate. I had always dreamed of playing college hockey, so seeing all my time and hard work pay off in getting a scholarship to such an amazing school like Colgate was very special.