The Gophers women's hockey team has signed six players, including three from Minnesota and one from Oklahoma:
F Hannah Brandt., Vadnais Heights
F Brook Garzone, Sand Springs, Okla.
G Amanda Leveille, Kingston, Ontario
F Maryanne Menefee, Lansing, Mich.
D Milica McMillen, St. Paul
D Lee Stecklein. Roseville
“We are losing some excellent seniors, so it was important to replace them with players who are outstanding, and we have done that,” Gophers coach Brad Frost said. “We once again kept the top Minnesota players in state and have added three other fantastic players. They fit with our program’s values and I know that Gopher fans will enjoy watching them play.”
Brandt was a member of the under-18 U.S. team that won a gold medal at the 2011 World Championships, and played on the U.S. team that went 6-0 at the 2011 Twelve Nations Invitational in August.
She is a senior at Hill-Murray, where she has led her team to four straight conference championship titles and a fourth place in the 2011 state tournament.
Brandt is a three-time all-state pick who as a junior had 45 goals and 25 assists for 70 points. She was named to the 2011 Star Tribune all-metro first team. She has lettered in hockey, soccer, academics, and link crew, and is a National Honor Society member. She is an “A” Honor Roll student. She also has played with the Minnesota Junior Whitecaps club team.
Brand on her college choice: “It has always been a dream of mine to play for the Gophers, and it is a school known for strong academics. The hockey program and the academic opportunities make Minnesota a perfect fit for me.”
Frost on Brandt: “Hannah is one of the most skilled players to come out of the great state of Minnesota. She has played on the USA U-18 team as well as the USA National team. Hannah has incredible puck skills, vision and a deadly shot. She has a knack for making those who play with her better. Hannah is passionate about the game of hockey, life and the University of Minnesota.”
Garzone, a native of Sand Springs, Okla., is a senior at Shattuck-St. Mary’s High School in Faribault, Minn. She has played at forward and defense in her high school career, but will play forward for the Gophers next season.
As a team captain, she led Shattuck-St. Mary’s to a 46-7-2 record and the USA Under-19 national title last season. Garzone had 18 goals and 20 assists for 38 points as a junior.
As a sophomore in 2009-10, Garzone’s team won the under-16 USA national title. Shattuck-St. Mary’s was 47-7-6 that season, while Garzone had 15 goals and 18 assists for 33 points.
She has participated in four USA Hockey development camps. She also has competed in golf and lacrosse in high school. She plans to major in business at Minnesota and has been an honor roll student.
Garzone on her college choice: “I have been a long-time fan of the University of Minnesota's women's hockey team, their coaches and its hockey traditions. After my spring visit at the ‘U’ and meeting some of the girls, I knew I wanted to be a part of the team.”
Frost on Garzone: “Brook continues the tradition of Shattuck St.Mary’s players coming to the U. She plays for a great program and is well coached. Brook has tremendous speed and is a tough competitor. She has great vision and is very puck smart. Brook does the little things well, takes care of the details and will be a great fit with our program.”
Leveille is a goalie from Kingston, Ontario, where she is a senior at Frontenac Secondary School. She participated in the 2011 Canada Under-18 Development Camp, and was named top goaltender at the 2011 Canadian National Under-18 Championship, where she was also named the MVP of the championship game after leading her team, Ontario Red, to the national title.
Leveille has played for the Ottawa Lady Senators of the Provincial Women’s Hockey League since 2010-11. Last season, she played in 19 games for the Lady Senators, with a goals against average of 1.60 and a .940 save percentage. So far this season, she has two shutouts in four games with a 1.18 goals against average.
From 2005-10, Leveille played Boys’ AAA hockey with the Junior Frontenacs. Leveille also competes in cross country, where she was named the Team MVP in 2009. She is an honor student at Frontenac Secondary School. She is active in volunteer work for organizations including the Royal Ottawa Hospital, Samaritans Purse and DIFD Saves for Lives.
Leveille on her college choice: “The University of Minnesota was a perfect fit for my academic, athletic, and personal aspirations. The players and coaching staff are the best! Minnesota and Ontario are very similar, sharing a love of lakes and hockey, and I feel right at home here.”
Frost on Leveille: “Amanda is a fierce competitor and outstanding. She plays on one of the top teams in Ontario and was the No. 1 goalie for Ontario Red at the prestigious Canadian U-18’s. Amanda has the skills, ability and mentality to be a great goaltender for us and we are excited for her to wear the ‘M’ next year.”
Menefee is a senior forward at Lansing Eastern High School in Lansing, Mich., and plays for the Little Caesar’s Under-19 AAA Hockey Club. She is a member of the under-18 U.S. national team, and has participated in USA Hockey development camps since 2008.
With the Little Caesar’s under-19 team in 2010-11, she was the USA Hockey National Championship scoring leader (13 points), and was named the tournament MVP at the Michigan Amateur Hockey Association (MAHA) State Tournament..
She has led her club teams to MAHA state championships in every season since 2005-06. Menefee also participates in basketball and softball in high school, She is a four-year member of the honor roll and honor guard, and is a three-year member of the National Honor Society. She intends to major in mechanical engineering.
Menefee on her college choice: “Out of all the colleges I visited, the University of Minnesota felt most like home. Everyone in Minnesota is so nice, I knew it would be a good place for me. I am looking forward to playing in a rink that was built for the women’s hockey team. Also, I feel the coaching staff will help me move my game to the next level.”
Frost on Menefee: "Maryanne plays for a great coach and program in Detroit. She played in on Team USA’s U-18 team this summer and has gained some great experience. Maryanne sees the ice very well, has soft hands and an excellent release. She puts herself in great positions to shoot the puck and score some big goals.”
McMillen, a defenseman from St. Paul, is a senior at Breck High School. Last season in her junior year, she scored 12 goals and 14 assists for 26 points, and was her team’s top-scoring defenseman.
McMillen has played in four girls hockey state tournaments with Breck, finishing fifth in 2007, second in 2008 and 2010, and third in 2011.
McMillen is a two-time all-state pick, and was named to the state all-tournament team three times. In her five years at Breck, she has scored 110 goals and 113 assists for 223 career points. She had 21 goals and 23 assists for 44 points as a junior.
Last August, McMillen participated in the USA Hockey Festival, and went on to play with Team USA in the Twelve Nations Cup in Finland. In 2010, she played on the under-18 U.S. team that won a gold medal at the World Championships. McMillen was selected to the Star Tribune first All-Metro team in both 2010 and 2011. She has also played club hockey with the Minnesota Junior Whitecaps.
McMillen on her college choice: “I grew up wanting to be a Gopher because I live in St. Paul, and I took the opportunity that was presented. It's a very good school and a great hockey program, and I'm very excited to become a part of that.”
Frost on McMillen: “Milica has skill that others dream of. She is big and strong, has a great hockey IQ, and is able to quarterback a power play, Milica, like Hannah Brandt, has won a gold medal with the USA U-18 team and has already been a part of the USA national team.”
Stecklein, a defenseman for Roseville High School, has extensive experience with USA Hockey, having participated as a National Development Camp player since age 14. She is a member of the 2011 under-18 U.S. team, and played for the U.S. team in the Under-18 World Championships in 2010.
Last August, she was chosen to participate in the USA Hockey Festival, and took part in the Four Nations Pre-Camp this fall. At Roseville Area High School, Stecklein led the Raiders to the 2010 state championship.
As a junior last season, she had 11 goals and 13 assists for 24 points, and was the top-scoring defenseman on her team. She earned all-state honors in 2011.
She has earned all-conference honors seven times in her career; twice in hockey, three times in lacrosse, once in tennis and once in soccer. Stecklein plays hockey for the Minnesota Junior Whitecaps club team in the summer.
On her college choice: “I believe it is the best hockey program in the nation. I’ve always wanted to play hockey as a Gopher! Academically, the U of M has so much to offer, plus I have a long family history at this school.”
Frost on Stecklein: “Lee is a smooth skating defenseman with excellent size. She makes a great first pass, rushes the puck at appropriate times and makes smart hockey decisions. Lee has been a standout defenseman for the USA U-18 team and will be a wonderful addition to our blue line here. She is another player who has worked hard to follow her dream.”