St. Cloud State University Women’s Hockey senior Taylor Lind is taking the term student-athlete to the next level.
Lind has been student teaching by day and starring for the Huskies by night, with St. Cloud State off to their best start in over a decade.
Lind only missed three games in her first three seasons at St. Cloud State, so seeing her on the ice is no surprise. But at the head of a classroom? That journey didn’t follow such a linear path.
Lind never imagined winding up as an educator. She never had dreams of teaching kids since she was young. Instead, Lind began as a Criminal Justice major, later switching to Business for a semester before finding her home in Elementary Education.
“I like helping (the kids) grow their knowledge,” Lind said. “Looking back, there were lots of times through hockey that I had the opportunity to work with children. Volunteering with younger teams and doing school visits … I always enjoyed those. I liked knowing I was helping those kids out. Once I got into my field experience, that really solidified things.”
Lind has been student teaching at Kennedy Community School in St. Joseph, balancing her schedule with the busy life of a Division I hockey player.
Lind’s day starts with a 6 a.m. wakeup before arriving at Kennedy at 7 a.m. Students already arrive by 7:15 a.m., and Lind doesn’t leave school until 1:15 p.m.
She’ll usually arrive at Herb Brooks National Hockey Center when her teammates are working out, opting to get a warmup in before a team skate at 2:45 p.m. When they finish around 4:30 p.m., she’ll workout with teammate Olivia Cvar, who also is student teaching this semester.
“It’s busy, there’s no way around it,” Lind describes with a laugh.
Lind credits her co-teacher Jean Eid as allowing it to be possible. Eid was a Division III volleyball player in college and had multiple siblings play college sports. She works with Lind’s schedule and understands the balance it takes to accomplish her teaching and athletic goals.
“I’ve been with fourth grade in both my field experience and student teaching, and I love that age,” Lind said. “There’s still lots of curiosity, but they’re very bright and intelligent.”
“They’re so creative; they still have a lot of wonder and magic to them,” she added. “I get to learn a lot from them.”
Women’s hockey team off to strong start
Lind is also making huge strides on the ice for a resurgent St. Cloud State Women’s Hockey program. The senior forward has been one of the top scorers for the Huskies this year, totaling five goals and nine assists. Last year she led the Huskies with 17 assists and 25 total points.
St. Cloud State enters the winter break with an 11-10 record, already totaling more wins than they have in any season since 2015-16. They made an appearance at No. 14 in the national polls on Dec. 5, the first time St. Cloud State has been ranked in over a decade (Jan. 21, 2009).
“Everyone on the team is buying in like we never have before,” Lind said. “The culture is changing. We’re really focusing on we want to be here to win, not just be here to play hockey. That’s our mindset right now, and it’s working for us.”
Not only does Lind get to be a leader in the classroom, but also with her team as she dons the “C” captain patch on her jersey this year. Brian Idalski, enjoying a successful first season as Head Coach of St. Cloud State, had praise for Lind’s strengths on-and-off the ice.
“She brings a relentless work ethic and compete level,” Idalski said. “Off the ice (she) is developing into a good leader for us. She wants the team to win and definitely is willing to make some of the sacrifices that it takes.”
The last time an St. Cloud State Women’s Hockey team finished a season with a winning record was 2009-10. Idalski wants to change the perception that a .500 season is a successful year and shoot higher for goals like playing in an NCAA Tournament or hosting games in the conference playoffs. He credits his players for the early progress, buying into what it takes to be elite athletes.
Lind plans to return for a fifth year of eligibility, playing a final season of college hockey while adding a Communications degree to her resume. For now she’s trying to enjoy the moment, still confident that hockey shaped whatever future success she will find.
“A lot of the assets I have in the classroom come from hockey,” Lind said. “I’ve learned so much from teamwork, relationship-building, hard work, work ethic; almost everything I owe to hockey. I’ve learned so many skills that will help me in the long run.”