Senior Lucy Hanson commits to play D1 college hockey amidst the complications of COVID-19

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Sophie Melsness

Senior Lucy Hanson smiles about her future as a women’s hockey player at Franklin Pierce University.

Anna Podein, Staff Writer

On Saturday April 17, senior Lucy Hanson committed to play Division 1 college hockey at Franklin Pierce University in Ridge, New Hampshire. Her decision comes in a recruiting year defined by unforeseeable and ever-changing circumstances due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Hanson first joined the BSM girls’ varsity hockey team during the 2019-2020 season after transferring from Wayzata her junior year. Throughout the season, she started gaining interest from college teams who were looking to sign her. However, with the arrival of COVID-19 in March 2020 kicking sports to the sidelines, Hanson’s recruiting process had to take a major pause. “COVID made it impossible for any coaches to come see me play in the summer, which is when most recruiting happens. It also made them nervous to make many offers because they didn’t know the future of their team,” Hanson said. 

In a non-COVID year, the recruiting process can be extremely stressful and time consuming for young athletes. Many spend months talking to and touring colleges before even getting a commitment offer, all in hopes of being able to play. Now, the pandemic has only complicated this process, offering less choices to and putting more pressure on players than ever before. “COVID made it difficult because most college players got another year of eligibility, meaning there were a lot less spots open. This slowed down the process for moving forward with schools and it limited a lot of options,” Hanson said. 

However, after a long process filled with waiting and precautions, Hanson was eventually able to tour Franklin Pierce over the weekend of April 16. It was this opportunity that helped her reach her final decision, as it gave her a chance to experience the school’s environment in a way she couldn’t over the internet. “The coaches were really nice and all the people on the tour had really good things to say about it, and they all seemed genuinely happy there. They also have a really good pre-physical therapy track which is what I’ll be majoring in,” Hanson said. 

All is not solved though, as COVID-19 continues to impact college sports and recruiting. Athletes everywhere worry about what the future holds for their college aspirations, while current commits fret over how their sports seasons and college experiences will be affected. “The next four years will be similar to this one recruiting wise, as each player on teams gains eligibility so teams will have more players, and therefore less opportunities for new recruits. The Ivy Leagues also didn’t play this year, which led to a lot of players entering the transfer portal and making things even more complicated. I just hope that next year I get to experience a freshman season that is somewhat normal,” Hanson said.