FARIBAULT, MINN. – In the past four years, the Shattuck-St. Mary’s girls hockey program has produced four athletes who have chosen to play collegiate hockey for Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Conn.
Courtney Vorster ’18, Kenzie Hauswirth ’19, and Kate Reilly ’19 are current Bobcats who are making their impact both on and off the ice. Jacob Shiffer, a writer for Quinnipiac’s student newspaper, recently featured the three athletes in the following article, “Hogwarts to Hamden”.
Better known as the Hogwarts of hockey, Shattuck-St. Mary’s School boasts an alumni list that could double as an NHL or NWHL All-Star team. The Minnesota boarding school has seen the likes of Sidney Crosby, Nathan MacKinnon, Amanda Kessel and Brianna Decker walk through its doors.
This year, Quinnipiac women’s ice hockey has three Shattuck-St. Mary’s alumni on the roster — two freshmen, defenseman Kate Reilly and forward Kenzie Hauswirth, along with a redshirt freshman defenseman, Courtney Vorster.
“Getting players from Shattuck is always really exciting,” Quinnipiac head coach Cass Turner said. “The things that they do to develop their players there are pretty tremendous. Their availability of the ice, their skill development, their opportunity to practice against great players and practice with real intensity I think is what puts them in a position to all be successful here.”
That success didn’t take long to materialize. As of Dec. 4, Reilly leads the team in points and goals among defensemen. Her nine points and three goals are good for second and fifth place in the conference, respectively.
Hauswirth is third on the team with four goals. Vorster hasn’t seen much game time due to injury, but her +9 leads the team in plus/minus and last year, she had a goal and two assists.
“Instantly, both Kenzie Hauswirth and Kate Reilly coming into practice were two of our harder workers if not, Kate Reilly the hardest worker on our team,” Turner said. “I think a lot of that is fostered in that environment and now that’s really exciting to see that as part of what we do with our culture.”
Reilly grew up in Richmond, British Columbia, and attended Shattuck-St. Mary’s as an international player. Because of high school rules preventing a team from having more than two international players on their roster, Reilly only played with the U19 squad for her senior year.
In her one season at the top level, she showed her offensive skills, leading the team in goals among defensemen. With the high level of competition, it’s no surprise to Reilly that her skills have translated so quickly to the collegiate level.
“I think every day just practicing against such highly skilled players,” Reilly said. “There’s a lot of speed especially in our practices, so I think playing at Shattuck prepared me better than playing anywhere else could’ve for the speed I’m facing now.”
In just one season, her improvement has been evident. She had a three-game point streak through the semi-finals of the Nutmeg Classic, with two of those points being goals, and earned All-Tournament Team honors following the conclusion of the tournament. In Turner’s eyes, that improvement has no end in sight.
“It’s not about a certain, specific end goal,” Turner said. “It truly for her is figuring out how good she can be. It’s that piece that I think is really exciting about Kate. There’s no limit to what her potential is at this point.”
For Hauswirth, attending Shattuck-St. Mary’s was always a dream. She grew up in Farmington, Minnesota, just 27 miles away from the school, and knew it was where she wanted to play.
While playing on the team, she won a national championship with Vorster in 2018. Playing in such high-pressure games gave her the knowledge of what it takes to compete at an elite level.
“We just bring the intensity every single practice,” Hauswirth said. “We just push everyone at practice to play at the same intensity we do because every single day we’re trying to get better. We want to win. Even if that means destroying your teammate in battles.”
That intensity doesn’t go unnoticed by her teammates.
“I think (Hauswirth) is such a skilled player,” Reilly said. “She knows how to battle. She knows how to compete and I love being on her team and I definitely would not want to be playing against her.”
Hauswirth’s on-ice skills have been evident in her play. Her first career goal came off a tip-in while screening in front of the goaltender. She flashed her stick skills on her second goal as she deked by two defenders and finished by scoring with a backhand shot.
“Hauswirth is a tremendous player,” Turner said. “I think she finished on her high school team last year third in points, and I think they had eight or nine kids who played on the U18 national team, so she is an offensive force and somebody who we expect to be on the scoresheet for us.”
Hauswirth’s championship teammate, Vorster, is now in her second year at Quinnipiac. With a redshirt season behind her, she has had time to reflect on what she learned from Shattuck-St. Mary’s and how it has helped her at Quinnipiac.
“It taught me how to create a pre-game routine that got me ready to play in big games, weekend after weekend, all year long,” Vorster said. “Shattuck also had a similar everyday routine to Quinnipiac in the fact that we worked out twice a week and skated everyday with games every weekend and long bus rides some weekends as well.”
Vorster said that familiarity helped make the adjustment to a new school, a new team and even a new dorm much easier.
“The first moment she got on campus and on our team, she was instantly comfortable, but she was also so giving to everyone around her,” Turner said.
Vorster was excited to find out Reilly and Hauswirth would join her at Quinnipiac. Aside from being great teammates, she was excited to be joined by great people who she had already played with.
For Reilly, it was another chance to play with someone she admired growing up.
“We’re actually from the same province,” Reilly said. “So I’ve known her since I played bantam hockey. We played spring together, and she is one of the best female hockey players I’ve ever seen. She was a huge role model for me growing up, and she’s definitely a defenseman that I’ve looked to learn from and to shape my play after.”
On Oct. 25, in a matchup against non-conference opponent Sacred Heart University, the three Shattuck-St. Mary’s alumni showcased their skills together. Vorster played in her first game of the season, Hauswirth scored her first two career goals and Reilly scored her first career goal.
“It was amazing just because (Vorster) was out the whole year before, so it was amazing to have her back in the lineup,” Hauswirth said. “Then being able to score and then have Kate score it’s like all our hard work there is at least starting to pay off.”
There’s an expectation of success for players from Shattuck-St. Mary’s. The last Quinnipiac player from that school was Melissa Samokevich, who finished her storied career third all-time in points for Quinnipiac. Even with that pressure, Hauswirth, Reilly and Vorster have made an immediate impact on the team on and off the ice. With half a season and three more years to go, there’s no telling what their impact could be on the team’s culture.
“They all kind of bring that mentality of being able to make other people better around them whether that’s on the ice or not,” Turner said. “That’s a great thing to have in our program.”