Not every professional hockey rink was dark for the entire NHL lockout.
The New York Rangers facilities hosted a training camp for the United States Women’s National Team before the Four Nations Cup in November — and helped launch the international career of emerging Marblehead center Lexie Laing.
A 16-year-old junior at Nobles and Greenough, Laing attended the camp with members of the senior women’s national team. Her performance helped her earn a spot on Team USA’s Women’s World Junior Championships roster, where she won a silver medal on January 5.
“The college-aged players on the national team usually stay in college during the camp, so they bring in some Under-18 players to fill in those spots,” Laing explained. “I was there with my teammate at Nobles, MacKenzie Kent, and it was a lot of fun seeing the facilities.”
Laing skated with the US National team’s players that are already through college and were preparing for the Four Nations Cup, women’s hockey household names like Hilary Knight, Kelli Stack and Danvers’ Meghan Duggan.
“It was great to see how the training works at such a higher level,” said Laing. “Being with them showed me how much fun playing at that level can be. They’re working really hard, going at it 110 percent even though its training, and still enjoying it.”
Laing, the youngest of three hockey playing sisters, wasn’t sure if she’d be invited to play at Women’s World Juniors in Finland. USA Hockey held a National Development Camp — a de facto tryout — in July, and she didn’t attend their August call-back. But playing in the Four Nations camp was a sign that she still had a chance.
“It was kind of up in the air, so when I found out I made it I was really excited,” said Laing, who at 16 will have a chance to play in the International Ice Hockey Federation event again next year.