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Thursday, July 31, 2014

Mason City teen-age girl has dream of playing hockey in Olympics

Thursday, January 3, 2002

MASON CITY - Like most 13-year-olds, Dominique Lind of Mason City enjoys shopping, hanging with friends and going to rock concerts.

But unlike most, she dons headgear and kneepads daily and takes to the ice - a journey that she hopes one day will help her realize her dream of playing Olympic hockey.

"And coaching a pro team," she said. "The Olympics would be one thing, but coaching a team where guys say, 'Oh boy, a girl coach. We'll show her.'

"And then having them say, 'Holy cow. She's tough.' Oh yeah, it would be much cooler to coach."

Dominique, who from the age of 5 skated with Mason City youth hockey teams, is sharpening her hockey talent at Shattuck-St. Mary's School in Faribault, Minn.

The private boarding school is home to one of the premier prep hockey programs in the Midwest, drawing top athletes from Florida, California, Vermont and Michigan.

Dominique plays forward on the varsity girls hockey team, the second-tier program for middle school students waiting to find a place on the prep, or high school, team. The teams regularly play Olympic-quality teams from Minnesota, Illinois and Wisconsin.

After four months, Dominique has settled into her five-day-a-week home away from home and thrives on the intense hockey program. Her first two school periods are spent on the ice.

Keeping a close eye on her progress is coach Seth Hedderick, who said Dominique was chosen to play when her talents were "pretty apparent."

"Her aggressiveness, her speed, her strength on the puck ...," he said. "She plays very, very well - a positive member of our team."

The biggest challenge of her move was getting used to having female teammates. The majority of her young career has been spent proving herself a worthy competitor on boys' teams in Mason City leagues.

"I've wanted to play since I was four, and I was watching my older brother play hockey," she said. "I thought 'I can do that.' I just wanted to jump over the boards and get out there."

Brother Brandon, no slouch himself, is goalie for Mason City High School hockey.

Dominique jumped at the chance to play hockey, once she got the chance.

"When it came time for hockey practice, getting up at 5 a.m., she'd jump right up," said her mom, Julie. "She couldn't wait to get out the door. She has always wanted to play."

Dominique early on displayed a fearlessness that belied her age. Her mom recalled an incident that occurred when Dominique, playing on a local Squirt level team, was called "a loser" by a male teammate.

"The coach heard the comment and made Dominique and this boy go to the red line, race to the blue and back again." Julie said. "Dominique smoked him. The coach turned to the boy and said, 'OK, now who's the loser?"

Dominique realized her own potential, she said, when she earned a spot on the Peewee A team (9- and 10 year-olds) "right away."



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