The Minnesota Wild, in partnership with Minnesota Hockey and Bally Sports North, today announced Laura Halldorson as the winner of the 2022-23 State of Hockey Legacy Award. Halldorson is the first woman to receive this honor.
“Laura is a true trailblazer for our sport, both in Minnesota and beyond,” said Craig Leipold, owner of Minnesota Wild. “Her impressive career serves as an inspiration for girls and women who dream of competing and coaching at the highest levels of football. We are honored to recognize their contributions to the world of hockey.”
Halldorson, a native of Plymouth, Minnesota, served as the University of Minnesota’s senior women’s hockey coach and led the program for ten seasons (1997-2007). Halldorson established the Golden Gophers as a national force, leading the team to eight NCAA tournament appearances, participating in five consecutive Frozen Fours (2002-06), winning three national championships (2000, 2004, 2005) and capturing seven WCHA championships (2001, 2002, 2004, 2005 regular season championships; 2002, 2004, 2005 tournament championships) during her tenure. During her time in Minnesota, she had a 278-67-22 record (.787), was named Division 1 Coach of the Year three times (1997-98, 2001-02, 2003-04) and was named by the American Hockey Coaches Association inducted into the M Club Hall of Fame in 2014. Prior to her time in Minnesota, Halldorson spent seven seasons (1989-96) as the head coach at Colby College, finishing her career as head coach with an overall record of 337-142-31. Outside of the collegiate ranks, Halldorson was heavily involved in US ice hockey, serving on the staff of 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 a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Princeton University, where she played hockey for four seasons and won three Ivy League titles before later pursuing her playing career In 1987 she became a member of the US women’s hockey team. After retiring as a coach in 2007, Halldorson worked for 15 years with the University of Minnesota’s Golden Gopher Fund, raising money for numerous teams across the athletic department. In 2014, she was inducted into the Minnesota Girls Hockey Coaches Association Hall of Fame.
Halldorson will be honored during the 17th annual Hockey Day Minnesota celebration this Saturday, Jan. 28, during the first break of the 8 p.m. CT game of the Minnesota Wild vs. the Buffalo Sabers at the Xcel Energy Center.
The State of Hockey Legacy Award, presented by Wild, Minnesota Hockey and Bally Sports North, recognizes individuals who have made exceptional and lasting contributions to hockey in Minnesota. Previous 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).
(Information courtesy of Wild)