Nyquist tabbed Turgeon Scholarship winner
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By Matt Mackinder
Kimi Nyquist thought she was in trouble.
Why else would Colorado Select director Kendall Hanley want to talk to her after practice?
Turns out, a reprimanding was the last thing on Hanley’s mind; instead, she told Nyquist, a defenseman on the organization’s 19U AA team, she’d won the prestigious Elizabeth “Liz” Turgeon Award and Scholarship.
“Winning the Liz Turgeon Award is such an honor for me,” Nyquist said. “I can’t begin to describe how thankful and happy I am. I also get the honor of wearing Liz’s number, 87, this season, which is very special.
“Every time I step on the ice, it’s my goal to honor Liz and her family, and that’s not only for this season, but every season. And I don’t want to have that goal just on the ice, but off it, too. Whenever I can, I’m going to honor Liz.”
And while Nyquist didn’t know Turgeon, who tragically passed away at the age of 18 in a automobile accident in 2010, she’s well aware of the legacy she left behind.
“I have friends this season who were close friends with her, and everyone I’ve talked to about Liz always has something different to say, but always positive,” said Nyquist. “I’m always hearing how she carried the team, always gave 120 percent, on and off the ice, and how she was just all-around an amazing person and teammate.”
Nyquist started playing for the Select program four seasons ago and says her time spent there has had a significant impact on her life.
“I think of everyone involved with Select as my family, and am so blessed to have them all,” said Nyquist. “Select has been an amazing and life-changing experience. I’ll never forget the amazing community, coaches and teams I’ve been a part of.”
Prior to the joining the Select, Nyquist was a figure skater for nine years before switching to hockey. It was a decision she knew would one day happen and, when it did, it led to a relatively easy transition.
“I’d always watch the boys play (hockey) at the rink, and I knew deep down I wanted to play,” explained Nyquist. “I always had a rough-and-tough personality, so it wasn’t that big of a surprise when I told my friends and family I wanted to switch.
“I also love the team aspect of hockey. As a figure skater, I had friends, coaches and a club, but never really got the same team feeling as I did with hockey.
“I think my favorite part is being able to play rough without having to worry about hurting (the opponent).”
This season, Nyquist has high expectations for both herself and the club, but above all wants nothing more than to be a member of a special team – something Turgeon did with regularity.
“I want to not only excel as an individual, but also as a teammate,” said Nyquist. “I want my team to finish what we start. That could be dryland, a game, team bonding – anything.
“I don’t care what it is or how hard it is, I want us to work as a team and see things through to the end. That’s also my individual goal – to push myself to the finish.”
In the future, Nyquist said she’s looking to play NCAA Division I hockey at Massachusetts’ Merrimack College – a new program that will ice its first team in 2015-16.
An academic career in criminology or pre-med may also be in the works when college rolls around.
“I’m currently meeting with different recruiters to help make those dreams come true,” Nyquist said.
Past winners of the Turgeon Award including Katie McGovern in 2011; Kayla Trujillo in 2012; and Julia Volpe last year.