MHS Senior Audrey Ladewig sets goals and makes goals … on and off the ice
TINA L. SCOTT
MHS Senior Audrey Ladewig is all about setting goals and making goals … on and off the ice. Ladewig is Merrill’s lone Varsity Girls Ice Hockey player and member of the Central Wisconsin Storm Girls High School Ice Hockey team, The team is a co-op of six area high schools and also includes players from DC Everest, Mosinee, Wausau East, Wausau West, and Marathon. None of the schools have enough female ice hockey players to form a single-school squad. Many people don’t even realize students have the option to play ice hockey at the Varsity level, and particularly female students.
“Girls hockey is more popular in other places,” Ladewig says. But since Merrill is a small town and not a popular sport [like football or basketball, for instance] “a lot of people don’t even know we have a girls hockey team available for high schoolers. I usually tell them that I’ve played my whole life and it’s a really fun sport,” she says.
“I was six when I started playing hockey,” Ladewig said. “When I was growing up and we lived in Milwaukee, we always used to go to roller skating rinks. But then we moved up to Merrill, and they didn’t have any rollerblading rinks, so my two older brothers decided to try out hockey. They both loved it, so me and my little brother decided to try it out, too. And I’ve been playing ever since.”
Ladewig said she played for the Merrill Hockey Association up until 8th grade. “Then I had a choice of either playing for the U-14 Central Wisconsin Girls team or playing with the Bantam Boys Hockey team. And I chose to play Bantams with a few of my other teammates from Merrill.”
“Then Freshman year the co-op went through in order for me to play with the High School Storm team,” she said.
“Hockey’s always been a huge part of my life,” Ladewig said. “I’ve played on AAA teams, and I played for Wisconsin Selects my Sophomore year. We made it all the way to nationals that year.”
Ladewig said she usually plays center or left wing. “I used to play defensive up until my Freshman year, and then I switched to offense,” she said.
Central Wisconsin Storm Coach Jacques DuVair considers Ladewig an asset to the Varsity team. “This is my first year as Audrey’s head coach,” he said. “I [also] worked with her as an assistant her freshmen year.”
“Audrey has been pretty versatile for us,” Coach DuVair said, “but her primary and best position is center. Audrey is very offensive minded. She likes to get up the ice and enter the zone with the puck on her stick. Audrey is probably our team’s best puck handler, and because of that, she is one of our leading scorers this season.”
He referenced the last couple of games and Audrey’s role in both winning games. “We played Saturday, Jan. 16, against Arrowhead and won 6-0,” Coach DuVair said. “Audrey had another strong game, adding a goal and an assist. Her offensive zone play is a huge plus to our team. She is able to handle the puck with confidence, which allows us to keep possession and create offensive zone chances.”
On Jan. 18, “we played Monday vs. Northern Edge and won 9-1,” Coach DuVair went on. In that game, “Audrey added two goals and an assist.”
“Again,” he said, “Audrey was very strong offensively, creating chances and finishing her own opportunities. Defensively, she continues to improve and helps us play a complete game on both ends of the ice.”
“Audrey is a wonderful kid to coach,” Coach DuVair said. “She listens. She works. She gives her best effort whenever she is on the ice. I’ve had a great time working with her so far this season, and I’m looking forward to the rest of the season.”
“Last year,” Ladewig shared, “I had a lot of up and downs with hockey, just because it is such a busy season. My grades were dropping because of all the travel and not having enough time to study. And after Junior year, I was thinking about not playing.”
“I’m so glad I decided to play though,” she said. “It’s been such a great season, and all of us girls get along and have lots of fun on the ice!”
“My favorite thing about playing hockey is all the friends and memories I’ve made,” Ladewig said. “This sport has allowed me to meet new people, travel, and stay active. The coolest place I got to see playing hockey was Niagara Falls when our Selects team made it to nationals. I’ve made a ton of lifelong friends and met so many different people. I love the bond that grows between teammates and the excitement of the games. Especially close games.”
Ladewig is about making goals … on and off the ice. And there are still lots of goals to score out on the ice for sure. “The season isn’t over yet,” she said. “We still have a lot to accomplish!”
When she graduates this spring, Ladewig has other goals in mind. “My plans after high school are to go to a four-year university and major in physical education,” Ladewig said. “I want to be a gym teacher and eventually also coach a girls hockey team. I’d love to encourage more girls to play.”
“But before I do that, I’d love to travel!” Ladewig said.
Audrey Ladewig is the daughter of Rhonda Ladewig and Paul Ladewig of Merrill. She also plays soccer, usually defense or mid field, and has been playing about seven years. In addition, she plays tennis as a singles player, having started tennis in her Sophomore year.