Author’s Note: Nicole Hensley is the gold medalist goalie for Team USA Women’s Hockey and is a 2012 graduate of Green Mountain High School. The Ram Page would like to thank her for her participation in this interview.
Q: How did you start playing hockey?
A: I started playing hockey when I was in third grade. My neighbor across the street played the sport and he was always out in the cul de sac in rollerblades and was shooting a puck. One day he asked if I wanted to play, and after that, we were inseparable. We were playing hockey through the day and well into the night all summer long, and when school started again, his parent’s told mine that they should give me a shot at playing hockey on the ice. My parents agreed. It was also the year that the Colorado Avalanche won the Stanley Cup, and hockey was booming across the state. I originally started as a forward, but after three years, they passed the pads to me for a few games, (Allowing someone other than the goalie to play that position) and after that, I was hooked on being a goalie. I have played that position ever since.
Q: What was it like winning a gold medal?
A: It was pretty incredible. It is hard to put into words the amount of work we put into achieving our goals and to see the end result of our determination was pretty amazing. However, it was even better to win with 22 of my best friends, and that made the experience second to nothing.
Q: What was your best memory at the Olympics? (other than winning a gold medal)
A: Aside from winning, I have to say my favorite moment was when Arielle Gold, who is a bronze medalist in snowboard halfpipe, took us up one of the mountains in Korea and took us night snowboarding. Most of us hadn’t snowboarded or went skiing in around six years out of fear of injuring ourselves, so it was pretty incredible to not just go skiing and snowboarding, but also to do it at the Olympics with a world-class snowboarder.
Q: How did you manage hockey and school at GMHS?
A: In my junior and senior year here, I played for the Colorado Select Team, which played in a league on the east coast. I usually ended up missing somewhere around 5 days of school a month for hockey. While it seems like a lot, the teachers here were always supportive, giving me the lessons days early if needed. They were always there to help me with my sporting goals, as long as I kept it up on the academic side as well. It takes a village to raise a hockey player, and I would’ve never been able to be where I am now without them.
Q: Is there any advice you would give GMHS Students?
A: I would say my best advice athletically would be to always work hard, as you never know when or where opportunity is going to strike. You never know who is watching and when someone will give you an opportunity to succeed. In the classroom, You never know how important having a good GPA and SAT score is, and it is equally important to know how to work with teachers. You also have to be determined, even if the topic seems boring because it is what makes you stick out of a class, whether it be a class of 30 people or 500 people. Simply put, academics are just as important as the athletic side of schooling.