Hanson talks about her experiences attending and coaching at USA Hockey programs

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Catherine Hanson, an assistant coach with the Ohio State women’s hockey team, was recently profiled by USA Hockey on its Web site,

OSU’s Hanson: Hard work the only route to success
November 18, 2008

By Mike Scandura
Special to

Of all the lectures and locker room chats Ohio State assistant women’s hockey coach Catherine Hanson has had, perhaps the most important words she’s said have had nothing to do with Xs and Os and how to put the puck in the net.

Instead they would be more along the lines of…

“Don’t take Ohio State for granted,” Hanson said. “Play every game like it’s your last. I try to talk more about appreciating what you have.

“Players are provided everything they need to be successful. A lot of the players appreciate it, but a lot of them don’t until it’s over.”

Hanson (Marquette, Mich.) also conveys the same message through her experiences with USA Hockey.

A 1998 graduate of Providence College, Hanson was a member of the U.S. Women’s National team during the 1999-2000 season and earned a trio of silver medals at the Three Nations Cup in Seinajoki, Finland, the World Championships in Espoo, Finland and the Three Nations Cup in Toronto.

“It was an honor and a privilege to represent your country and put on that jersey,” Hanson said. “If I can relate to these kids that you don’t appreciate it until it’s gone, that’s fine with me.

“I’m a very modest person. I don’t talk about my experiences with USA Hockey probably as much as I should.”

Without question, Hanson would have plenty to talk about.

Besides competing with the National team, Hanson also has coached at the 2007 Girls’ Select 14 Development Camp in Rochester N.Y., the 2006 Select 15/16 Camp in Rochester, the 2006 U.S. National Women’s Festival in Lake Placid, N.Y., the 2002 Girls’ 14/15 Development Camp and the 2003 Girls’ 16/17 Select Festival in Lake Placid.

And that’s in addition to her time at the 2007 Michigan Amateur Hockey Association Regional Development Camp in Lansing, plus the 2001 Mid-American District Camp in Kent, Ohio.

“I think those camps are a great opportunity to learn from your peers,” said Hanson, in her seventh season with the Buckeyes. “You’re working with the best coaches in the game. It’s a lot of fun and a great experience.

“For young players we’re teaching, hopefully they’ll be like sponges and learn.”

Even though Hanson is only 10 years removed from playing for Providence College (where, in 1996, she participated in the Olympic Development Camp and the year before led the Friars to the ECAC championship), comparing players’ skill levels back then with skill levels now is a challenge.

“There’s a big difference in the speed of the game,” she said. “These players are very fast and bigger and stronger. It’s a different game whether you’re talking about the style or pace.

“You can’t compare a Providence team now with one from 15 years ago.”

That very well may be the case with any college team in the country, which underscores the value of USA Hockey’s various camps.

“There are two big things USA Hockey is focusing on,” said Hanson, who was an assistant coach at Colgate for one season and at Wayne State for two before moving to Ohio State. “One is skating. You must be a good skater if you want to play on international ice. And you must be able to pass and received the puck and keep up with the game.

“There’s so much that’s different from when I was playing.”

Ironically, when Hanson was playing at Providence, it was for her current boss, Buckeyes head coach Jackie Barto. Barto has served USA Hockey as an assistant coach for a U.S. Women’s U-22 Select team and a head coach at a Women’s Festival in Lake Placid.

“I think the biggest thing I learned [from Barto] as a player is the discipline it takes to be successful and how hard you have to work,” said Hanson. “I’ve tried to instill that in women I’ve coached. You have to work hard, but the rewards are great in the long run.

“They could be the most talented players out there, but they don’t get away with the fancy moves at this level. They must learn how to play at this level. It’s a big transition, whether you’ve played club hockey or in [states like] Minnesota.”

Hanson grew up in a hockey environment and took up the sport around the time she entered kindergarten.

“Marquette is a huge hockey community,” said Hanson. “Winter is nine months out of the year. My parents had season tickets to Northern Michigan games and I remember going to their games ever since I was born.

“I started skating at four and playing at five and I played with boys until I went to Providence. I was a rink rat.’

“Fortunately,” continued Hanson, “we had an outdoor rink across the street. Being the youngest sibling, they stuck me in net [Hanson was a defenseman at PC]. When I was old enough to skate, my parents put me in skates and have supported me ever since.”

Hanson did her fair share of supporting others during her undergraduate years at PC. And it had nothing to do with playing hockey.

Hanson was involved with Habitat for Humanity in Rockland, Mass., the Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Help for Abused Women and their Children.

“My friends and I did anything we could do to support those women,” recalled Hanson. “Just being a woman, we have to deal with some things that maybe a male might not have to.

“Women in general have to deal with those types of things. We were just trying to give back.”

Story courtesy of Red Line Editorial, Inc.