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Commitment to NCAA D-III Norwich one of value, culture for Castle Pines native Nelson


Sophia Nelson has used her strong 2023-24 season with the Team Colorado AAA program into a college commitment to NCAA Division III Norwich.

The Cadets play in the New England Hockey Conference, with the school itself located in Northfield, Vt.

“The opportunity to commit to Norwich arose towards the end of February,” explained Nelson. “Coach Sophie Leclerc-Doherty had initially reached out to me back in the fall, and we reconnected again in February. During our conversations, I was fortunate enough to receive an offer.

“The school itself is smaller, which was something I was looking for during the recruiting process. When it comes to hockey, the program aligns with things I value, like culture and a high compete level. They’re a highly competitive program in the NEHC. For me, Norwich offers the perfect mix of academics and hockey.”

In addition to excelling at hockey, Nelson has also been a high-level student and plans to continue that at Norwich.

“Academics are definitely a huge priority for me,” Nelson said. “Being able to balance my school work with hockey has always been something of high importance to me. I plan to major in Criminology.”

Back home, Nelson’s hockey career began innocently enough.

“In my hometown of Castle Pines, one of my neighbors that I grew up with got me into hockey,” said Nelson. “We went to Evergreen for pond hockey and that was the first time I had played. I knew it was something that I wanted to continue to do, so my parents signed me up.

“I started my hockey career at Colorado Select, which rebranded into the Colorado 14ers. I was lucky enough to be coached by Hannah Westbrook, who made a huge impact on my development on and off the ice and I wouldn’t be where I am today without her. I have had many other coaches that have helped me along the way, including Chad MacLeod, Drue Engleman, Karen Rickard, and many more.”

Going forward, Nelson’s goals are simple.

“My short-term goal is to train and prepare myself this summer to play hockey at the next level,” said Nelson. “My long-term goal would be to develop as a player at Norwich and be able to contribute to the program.”

Photo/Be Feral Media

— Matt Mackinder

(March 24, 2024)

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