Senior proud to wear red
No one has ever made it easy for Mikka Nordby to playhockey. So why should this year be any different??We never had an indoor rink in my town until I was about 12or 13,? Nordby said. ?So I was never given much of a chance to play, except forplaying pickup games with the guys, and I just had to try and compete withthem.?Just like when she was younger, Nordby, a senior defensemanon the Wisconsin women?s hockey team, has found playing time tough to come by.Nordby has only seen ice time in nine of 26 games this season and has yet torecord a point.?It is definitely hard, because everyone wants to play, andeveryone wants their spot out there,? Nordby said. ?But if you don?t look at itfrom a selfish standpoint, I try and focus on the things that I can control. Ican?t really control the amount of ice time that I get, but I can control how Icome to the rink every day and the work that I put into it. … The bottom lineis I have to put myself second to the team.?Although Nordby doesn?t see much ice time, she still has asignificant positive impact.?Mikka is there to do anything that the coaches or herteammates ask of her,? junior goalie Jessie Vetter said. ?She is a verypositive role model, especially for the younger kids. She works really hard inpractice, and if she gets that opportunity to go in the game she is going towork really hard and give it her all.??Mikka is just a great teammate,? senior captain EmilyMorris added. ?She just lifts your spirits and reminds you to be thankful andenjoy the game.?Because Nordby was taught by former great Badger defensemen asan underclassman, she views it as her responsibility to teach the youngerdefensemen how to win.?We told them at the beginning of the year that thedefensive zone is our house, and what happens there is our responsibility,?Nordby explained. ?We have some of the top forwards in the country, so we justneed to get them the puck, and they will score goals. I try to teach them thatour job isn?t to score; it is to keep the puck out of the net.?As one of three seniors on the team, Nordby is in the uniqueposition to possibly be a part of a three-time NCAA National Championshipclass. Because the class is so small, all the seniors feel they have developeda special relationship extending far beyond hockey.?We all bring different aspects to the group,? Morriscontinued. ?We have really close-knit friendships, and I just think that theclass that the coaches picked for the 2008 seniors is a really unique group buta great group.?While Nordby has won two National Championships and helpedset the NCAA record for longest unbeaten streak in women?s hockey, her favoritepart of playing hockey is something much simpler. She is the most proud ofbeing a Badger.?Whenever I put on a jersey, I am just filled with pride,?Nordby said. ?I am proud to be a part of the program, and I am proud to get theopportunity to be a Division I athlete. I think that just that alone makes youfeel good inside and ? see the jersey that you see on TV and see that you arewearing a jersey you have always dreamed of wearing. That is what I enjoy themost.?