Back in the Rink

Back in the Rink

Johannah Kneen, Reporter

Caitlin Nosanov Headshot
Caitlin Nosanov, who now plays for Davenport University, was recently invited to play goalie on Team USA.

Caitlin Nosanov has been playing hockey for 17 years. Now playing around the world, she reflects on her years as a young girl in Grand Rapids, Mich., learning to skate in what was ultimately the beginning her immensely successful journey.

Spending countless hours, days, and years making her way through ranks, Nosanov attributes a vast majority of her success to her father, who also doubled as her coach.

“My dad coached my next team and needed a goalie at the time and that is why I became what I have become,” Nosanov said.

Nosanov experienced a lot of success during her younger years and was a part of one the first AA female teams in Grand Rapids.

“During my high school years, I made the decision that I wanted to play hockey at a collegiate level and that required me to travel three hours each way (three times a week) to Detroit where I would join an AAA team that would compete across the nation,” Nosanov says.

The achievement didn’t stop at hockey with Nosanov. On top of playing for countless teams such as Little Caesars 14U, Belle Tire 19U, Honeybaked 16U, and Victory Honda 19U throughout high school, she played softball, golf, and lacrosse, and finished 9 out of 216 in her class with a 4.09 GPA.

Nosanov was now both fully committed and invested in her craft on the ice and her studies off the ice. All of her hard work paid off when she was recruited by multiple NCAA teams, one of them being Hamline University.

“I eventually decided on Hamline because they offered a good hockey program and an array of academics. I loved how Hamline (at a NCAA-Division III level) offered me more than hockey; they offered me an opportunity to be in a variety of clubs and the chance to be a Residential Advisor,” Nosanov said.

Nosanov reflected on her years playing with the Pipers.

“My experience playing as a Piper was a very team oriented experience. I enjoyed playing with the girls and liked playing at a higher level where I learned endurance, patience, and how to better read the game,” said Nosanov.

Unfortunately, no Cinderella story goes without setbacks. Between her sophomore and junior year Nosanov had bilateral hip surgery that enabled her to play hockey pain free. Later during her junior year, she got the news that she urgently needed more foot and ankle surgery. Due to an affliction known as Cavus Foot Deformity, she had multiple sprained ankles and had developed tarsal tunnel syndrome. Without medical attention, she would have eventually lost all sensation in her feet. She received this surgery in June 2013, and was unable to participate in the hockey season until December 2013. This brought Nosanov’s hockey career to an end after her junior year at Hamline. But things would shortly turn around.

After graduating from Hamline in May 2014, Nosanov discovered she had an extra year of eligibility left from the NCAA, so she decided to return to her hockey roots in Grand Rapids. Her goalie coach recommended that she play for Davenport University, as she coincidentally also needed to complete some extra classes in order to qualify for optometry school.

During her time at Davenport, Nosanov traveled to Ohio, Wisconsin, and Nebraska. On top of the thrill from traveling and playing the sport that she loved, the head coach for Miami University doubles as the assistant coach of Team USA.

“I played very well there and was one of the few goalies that was able to stop Miami University, according to the referee from that game. I also achieved very impressive stats over my season at Davenport University,” Nosanov said.

Currently having less than two Goals Against Average (GAA) and a 0.953 save percentage, Nosanov was approached by the head coach of Team USA. They had reviewed tape and talked to her current coach, and felt that she would be the best goalie for the position.

“I am very honored to be playing for Team USA for the World University Games! This is truly a dream come true and I hope to bring everything that I have to enable our team to win gold and defeat teams like Russia and Canada. This is the best possible ending to my hockey career,” she said.

Outside of hockey, Nosanov’s Cinderella story only unfolds more. On top of plans to get married in June of 2015, she also hopes to attend optometry school in September 2016. But hockey will always remain a big part of her life. She plans on coaching and refereeing after this season.

“I hope that one day, I can be there for my kids like my parents were. They did whatever was needed for me to advance in the world of hockey. They supported me in everything that I have done and continue to do. I also have to give credit to my fiancé Eric Winsor, who has helped me through my injuries and who has continued to inspire me to achieve my dreams,” Nosanov said.

As Nosanov reflects on her experiences through countless hours on the ice, driving from city to city, studying hard, overcoming injuries, and living life here at Hamline, she had one last piece of advice to share:

“I would say to some of my former teammates and to those Pipers that I have not met that you have already proved yourself highly accomplished athletes by being a collegiate hockey player. No matter what the score is at the end of the day, remember where you came from, why you are playing at Hamline, and that all of your external hard work will pay off someday, somewhere,” Nosanov said.