Local hockey Olympian connects faith and competition

Categories: Around the Diocese

Jan. 17, 2014, edition
By Sue Schulzetenberg-Gully

In the midst of final preparations for the Olympics, United States women’s hockey player Anne Schleper says faith definitely plays a role in her games.

With the opening ceremony in Sochi, Russia, just three weeks away, Schleper, a native of St. Cloud and alumna of Cathedral High School and St. Elizabeth Ann Seton (elementary) of St. Cloud, says it would be easy to idolize the evaluation of her coaches or a potential medal around her neck.


Anne Schleper, who has gone from playing youth hockey in St. Cloud to a national championship with the University of Minnesota to the Olympics, says she finds freedom “in my life and in my play when I fix my eyes on Jesus and not on this world.” Photos courtesy USA Hockey

But she is humbled to remind herself that she plays to glorify God.

“I wouldn’t be following his will if I wasn’t inviting him to the rink also,” the 23-year-old said.

“Life goes too fast to try and please another human or to work tirelessly for an item that will eventually perish,” she said. “There is freedom in my life and in my play when I fix my eyes on Jesus and not on this world.”

Hockey her job

Schleper, who was named to the U.S. women’s hockey team roster Jan. 1, began playing hockey at age 4 in the pre-kindergarten program at the St. Cloud Municipal Athletic Complex. Today, hockey is her job, but it’s one she loves, she said.

Preparing for the Olympics required countless hours of off-ice weight lifting and on-ice skill practices. She left the house many days at 8 a.m and didn’t return until 5 p.m. In addition to practicing, she needed to pay close attention to her nutrition, sleep habits and body maintenance.

Off the ice Schleper, participates in a Bible study with fellow hockey players. A graduate of the University of Minnesota, she was part of a Bible study group in college as well.

anne20Schleper played for the hockey program at the St. Cloud MAC until junior high when she switched to the St. Cloud Icebreakers, a team composed of players from three St. Cloud high schools.

At the University of Minnesota, she notched 28 points in helping the Gophers win the 2012 national championship. She finished the season as the school record holder in most career games played.

She was also a member of the 2008 United States Under-22 Team and a two-time member of the U.S. Under-18 Team, including the 2008 team that won the gold medal. She played for Team USA in the 2011, 2012 and 2013 International Ice Hockey Federation World Championships.

After college, she moved to the East Coast to play for the Boston Blades of the Canadian Women’s Hockey League.