The Minnesota Wild, in partnership with Minnesota Hockey and Bally Sports North, today announced Laura Halldorson as the 2022-23 State of Hockey Legacy Award winner. Halldorson becomes the first female to receive the honor.
“Laura is a true trailblazer for our sport, both within Minnesota and beyond,” said Minnesota Wild owner Craig Leipold. “Her impressive career serves as an inspiration to girls and women who dream of competing and coaching at the game’s highest levels. We are honored to recognize her contributions to the world of hockey.”
A native of Plymouth, Minn., Halldorson served as the inaugural women’s hockey coach at the University of Minnesota, leading the program for ten seasons (1997-2007). Halldorson established the Golden Gophers as a national power, guiding the team to eight NCAA tournament appearances, appearing in five consecutive Frozen Fours (2002-06), winning three national championships (2000, 2004, 2005) and capturing seven WCHA Championships (regular-season championships in 2001, 2002, 2004, 2005; tournament championships in 2002, 2004, 2005) during her tenure. She accumulated a 278-67-22 record (.787) while at Minnesota, was named the American Hockey Coaches Association’s Division 1 Coach of the Year on three occasions (1997-98, 2001-02, 2003-04) and was inducted into the M Club Hall of Fame in 2014. Prior to her time in Minnesota, Halldorson spent seven seasons (1989-96) as head coach at Colby College and finished her head coaching career with a 337-142-31 overall record. Outside of the collegiate ranks, Halldorson was heavily involved in USA Hockey, serving on staffs for the National, Junior National and Women’s Select teams and on the Women’s Olympic Evaluation Committee.
A proud member of the Minnesota Checkers girls team and a graduate of Wayzata High School, Halldorson earned an undergraduate degree in Psychology from Princeton University, where she played four seasons of hockey and won three Ivy League titles, before later continuing her playing career with the U.S. National Women’s Hockey Team in 1987. Following her coaching retirement in 2007, Halldorson spent 15 years working with the University of Minnesota’s Golden Gopher Fund, raising money for numerous teams across the athletic department. She was inducted in the Minnesota’s Girls Hockey Coaches Association’s Hall of Fame in 2014.
Halldorson will be honored during the 17th annual Hockey Day Minnesota celebration this Saturday, Jan. 28, in the first intermission of the Minnesota Wild’s 8 p.m. CT game with the Buffalo Sabres at Xcel Energy Center.
The State of Hockey Legacy Award, presented by the Wild, Minnesota Hockey and Bally Sports North, recognizes individuals who have made extraordinary and long-term contributions to hockey in Minnesota. Past recipients are Dr. George Nagobads (2022), John Mayasich (2021), Doug Woog (2020), Larry Hendrickson (2019), Bob Naegele, Jr. (2018), Walter L. Bush, Jr. (2016), Bob O’Connor (2015), Lou Nanne (2014), Glen Sonmor (2012), Neal Broten (2011) and Lou Cotroneo (2010).
(info courtesy of Wild)