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Fort Collins product Corser-James helping put Chatham NCAA D-III women’s program on national map


This season at NCAA Division III Chatham University, Allison Corser-James entered the school’s record books as the team’s career leading scorer.

Not bad for the Fort Collins native, who has the rest of this season and 2023-24 to add to her totals that currently stand at 67 going into December.

“It means that we are, hopefully, helping Chatham progress its women’s ice hockey program to bigger and better things,” Corser-James said. “I am glad we are getting to a point where we are exceeding the standards set by those before us and, like them, paving a way forward for the next generation of women hockey players at this school.”

Going back a couple years, Corser-James said when the Chatham opportunity presented itself, the school had everything she was looking for, on and off the ice.

“The opportunity to play for Chatham came to me my senior year of high school,” explained Corser-James. “I had known the Chatham coach, Mike O’Grady, for a couple years through various showcases and tournaments I attended. He actually offered me to join his team at a different university, but the school was not the right fit for me. By a stroke of luck, it would seem, he would pick up a coaching position at Chatham my senior year. I immediately checked out the school and fell in love with it. Chatham offered most importantly my major, but also its amazing location right in the heart of Pittsburgh. The team at Chatham also had a massive appeal to me.

“When I toured the school, two of the girls on the team took me out for lunch and showed me all the cool places they had already found while attending Chatham. Chatham checked all my boxes for what I wanted for a team, but most importantly what I wanted for a college experience.”

Corser-James is a Media Arts major with a concentration in Film and Digital Technology.

“So far, I have thoroughly enjoyed my time on the team and at the school,” Corser-James said. “Some of my closest friends are the girls on the team. On a personal level, my time at Chatham has brought me connections that I know will last a lifetime. I’ve met some amazing people not only on the team but at the school. From friends, teammates, coaches, and professors, Chatham has brought me a close-knit group of people who positively impact all aspects of my life.”

She has also grown to admire the city of Pittsburgh, calling it a “super interesting place to live.”

“I knew nothing about Pittsburgh before I came to Chatham and I was pleasantly surprised,” said Corser-James. “It offers all the perks of living in a city-type area while not losing any of its steel city charm. The city itself is filled with a beautiful blend of old and new. All the buildings, streets, etc., in Pittsburgh are packaged so chaotically yet beautifully together. I sometimes think I am looking at the craftsmanship of a miniature model maker when looking at the sprawling houses, bridges, and churches along the hills of Pittsburgh.

“There are so many nooks and crannies to discover throughout Pittsburgh and so many close-knit communities to explore.”

During her youth, Corser-James started playing hockey at the NoCo Ice Center which is literally right across the street from her house.

“I started off as a figure skater and made the move to hockey after watching my younger brother start to play,” Corser-James said. “I enjoyed the jumps of figure skating, but not so much the grace and pose it entailed. Hockey seemed like all the fun parts of figure skating to me. It also was a team sport, which I have always preferred. I played for NoCo’s youth teams until I made the switch to women’s ice hockey and played for the Lady RoughRiders in Denver. At that point in time, there were no AAA women’s ice hockey teams in Colorado, so I moved on to play travel for the Lady Blues in St. Louis. From there, I moved to women’s prep hockey at The Hill School in Pottstown, Pa., until I found myself at Chatham.”

Those formative years yielded positive coaches and influences for Corser-James.

“To me, my boys coach Rhett Gordon and my Hill School coach Ari Baum had major impacts on me as a player,” she said. “Rhett coached me while I was practicing with the local high school team and playing for the Lady Blues in St. Louis. I feel like a lot of my hockey knowledge comes from him. This is because of how he harnessed a constructive learning environment. He did this through making fun of us for making dumb hockey plays, often in a hilarious fashion, and knowing when it was time to teach. His outlandish visuals and comments, while very funny, gave me the majority of the knowledge I possess about hockey today.

“Ari Baum was a great coach, but more so a great person to get any kind of advice from. He somehow knows everything and everyone even though he won’t admit to it. I feel more than anything I learned a lot of life skills from him, especially through his legendary pre-game, post-game, and random times on extremely late bus rides back from games speeches he delivered.”

Going forward, Corser-James has plans to keep making an impact at the rink and in the classroom.

“This season, I hope our team can make it to the final round of the UCHC playoffs and move on to the NCAA tournament,” said Corser-James. “As for school this year, I’m hoping to finish my current short film and hopefully enter it into some film festivals. I hope that I can continue to play hockey throughout college and continue to help grow our program. School-wise, I hope I can continue to get great opportunities to make films and build up my experience in the professional world.”

Photo/Jeanine Leech

— Matt Mackinder

(November 30, 2022)

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