If it's game day, it's date night for John and Krissy Pohl

  • Article by: DAVID LA VAQUE , Star Tribune
  • Updated: December 25, 2012 - 6:24 AM

Mr. and Mrs. Pohl now coach together, adding spice to their marriage made in Minnesota hockey heaven.

Nestled on a couch inside the Woodbury home they bought about a year ago, Minnesota's hockey glam couple, whose 2007 wedding drew attention in People magazine, look every bit the part of typical parents after taking their careers to envied heights.

 Krissy Pohl, a celebrated two-time Olympian when she was known as Krissy Wendell, and John Pohl, an eight-year veteran of minor league and NHL hockey, now spend Christmas at home. Their focus is not the next trip to Canada or Europe, but three young daughters who fill the room with playful life.

Christmastime used to be bittersweet, "time to leave my family again," Krissy said. "For about six years, on Dec. 26 I would have to leave for training camp [with the Olympic team]."

These days hockey creates a different sort of family bond: The Pohls are in their second season coaching girls' hockey at Cretin-Derham Hall.

John, who teaches business education at the St. Paul private school, is the head coach. Krissy is a part-time volunteer assistant who attends each game and one or two practices per week. Her full-time job is raising three daughters under the age of 5.

During those practices, daughters Emily, Anna and Lucy hang out in the arena with doting high school students while mom and dad teach their considerable hockey smarts to their girls on the ice.

"I think it's done a lot for us as people to be able to try and help these young girls," John said. "Both Krissy and I had amazing high school hockey experiences, and we're trying to provide that for our girls whether they want to go on and play Division I or just be part of the team."

Coaching hockey, Krissy said, "kind of fulfills that competitive side of us," but it also provides an escape. On game nights, John and Krissy go to the rink while the girls go to their grandparents or babysitters.

"We have 25 dates," John said.

Hardware hidden at home

A Christmas tree decorates the living room. As for a lack of additional domestic touches, Krissy admitted that years of temporary residences have her out of practice. But the couple is adamant there will be no shrine to past hockey glories.

A picture of John and Gophers teammate Jordan Leopold with the 2002 NCAA trophy and a framed block M commemorating the victory hang in the foyer along with the Pohls' framed college diplomas.

The remaining swag is hidden from view or in storage elsewhere. Krissy's Olympic silver and bronze medals are in the bedroom. Her 2005 Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award, given to the top women's player in college hockey, is at her mother's house. John's 1998 Mr. Hockey trophy from his senior year at Red Wing High School is in his mother's basement.

"We don't want our kids thinking they have to win or be the best," Krissy said. "And it's our family home, not Mommy's and Daddy's."

"It's way more about ..." John said, pausing to collect his thoughts before Krissy added, "... the life experiences you have gained."

Family affair at practice

The Pohls make it a family affair when Krissy and the girls attend Cretin-Derham Hall practices at Charles M. Schulz-Highland Arena in St. Paul. John arrives first and gets things started with the team. Krissy arrives a little later and hands off the girls to be watched by the hockey student managers. Older girls Emily, 4 1/2, and Anna, 2 1/2, are big enough that they can look out a window and see their parents on the rink. Nine-month-old Lucy will have to wait a few seasons.

"His family comes first," said Terry Skrypek, longtime Hill-Murray and University of St. Thomas hockey coach. Skrypek attended Cretin and played hockey with John's father, Jim, before joining John's staff as an assistant. "He loves his girls and wants them around. People ask if he wants to coach the Cretin boys someday, but he seems to be happy right where he is."

John blows the whistle, draws up the drills and keeps everyone on task. Krissy, content with deferring the tough decisions to her husband in practices and games, offers advice to players and wears a perpetual smile on her face on the ice on behind the bench.

"They make it fun," Krissy said. "Sometimes I feel like I'm yelling at my kids all day. Then I can show up and the players are smiling and having a good time. It's a good hour-long break for me."

The feeling is mutual among players, several of whom count Krissy as an idol from her playing days and got her autograph as kids. They learned of John's professional hockey exploits through YouTube, most notably from a clip in which he gets the worst of a fight.

Senior forward Catie Russell, who previously worked with the couple at one of Krissy's offseason hockey camps, said players benefit from the coaches' complementary styles.

"He's definitely more energetic, and he's not afraid to say what he's thinking," Russell said. "On the bench during games he sometimes gets a little riled up and Krissy's got to calm him down."

Said senior defenseman Hannah Forliti: "It's fun to see them interact doing something they both love. It's really fun to be a part of it with them."

Players aren't just learning how to gameplan power plays and forechecks. They are teaching young parents what the future holds.

"There will be a day where all three of our girls will be in high school at the same time," John said. "In a way, every day at practice is a little bit of a snapshot of what our life is going to be like someday."

Parents off the ice

John grew up with three younger brothers, and Krissy has an older brother and younger sister. But it's different when you run the household.

After practice one afternoon last week, Krissy, Emily and Lucy got home first and mom prepared a dinner consisting of shredded barbecue chicken sandwiches and Tater Tots. John and Anna arrived home after a quick run through Target. As dad fed Lucy, Emily asked him to read the book "The Littlest Elf." Above, a princess balloon was caught in the ceiling fan.

"With three kids, we do in one day what we used to do in a week with laundry and baths and dishes," John said. "I think Krissy and I have been out to two movies in five years."

If the Pohls, who are unlikely to have more children, got a nickel every time someone asked whether their girls would become hockey players, "It would be like we won the lottery," Krissy said. John and Krissy want them to follow their passions and are not concerned whether or not hockey makes the list.

Emily skates but doesn't like holding a stick. She prefers dancing and singing. Anna's idea of hockey is batting a Disney princess ball around the downstairs playroom with a plastic hockey stick.

"I just want them to be involved with something," John said. "I kind of hope they play some sort of team sport because you learn to work with others to accomplish a goal."

That philosophy is a big reason the couple coaches together. When approached about the Cretin-Derham Hall job, John refused to accept without Krissy's help.

"Hockey coaching is the only thing we're qualified to do," Krissy joked.

John added, "And we can do it together."

David La Vaque • 612-673-7574

  • related content

  • Athletes of the week: Someone told Champlin Park's Novalany it's time to wrestle

    Monday December 24, 2012

    To most, the holidays are a time of celebration and joy. To Novalany, this time of the year has a more profound effect.

  • Meet Mr. and Mrs. Pohl

    Tuesday December 25, 2012

    KRISSY (WENDELL) POHL• First girl to start a Little League World Series game, played in 1994. Played catcher and batted...

  • Hitting a Disney princess ball with a plastic stick in the basement is hockey for 2-year-old Anna, watched by parents Johnny Pohl and Krissy (Wendell) Pohl.

  • Johnny Pohl went through plays with his Cretin-Derham Hall girls hocke...

  • Krissy (Wendell) Pohl and Johnny Pohl talked to the girls during a hom...

  • Krissy (Wendell) Pohl and Johnny Pohl picked up their daughters from u...

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Cleveland 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Buffalo
Washington 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis
Tennessee 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Houston
San Diego 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore
NY Giants 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Cincinnati 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Oakland 11/30/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis
New Orleans 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh
Carolina 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Minnesota
Arizona 11/30/14 3:05 PM
Atlanta
New England 11/30/14 3:25 PM
Green Bay
Denver 11/30/14 7:30 PM
Kansas City
Miami 12/1/14 7:30 PM
NY Jets
Dallas 12/4/14 7:25 PM
Chicago
Chicago 109 FINAL
Boston 102
Golden State 106 FINAL
Charlotte 101
Dallas 106 FINAL
Toronto 102
Milwaukee 104 FINAL
Detroit 88
New Orleans 91 FINAL
Atlanta 100
LA Clippers 102 FINAL
Houston 85
New York 78 FINAL
Oklahoma City 105
Orlando 83 FINAL
Indiana 98
Sacramento 104 FINAL
San Antonio 112
Phoenix 97 FINAL
Denver 122
Memphis 112 FINAL
Portland 99
Minnesota 120 FINAL
LA Lakers 119
NY Rangers 3 FINAL
Philadelphia 0
Chicago 4 FINAL
Anaheim 1
NY Islanders 2 FINAL
Washington 5
Winnipeg 1 FINAL(OT)
Boston 2
Montreal 1 FINAL
Buffalo 2
Detroit 5 FINAL(SO)
New Jersey 4
Carolina 4 FINAL
Pittsburgh 2
Vancouver 5 FINAL
Columbus 0
Ottawa 2 FINAL
Florida 3
Edmonton 3 FINAL(OT)
St. Louis 4
Minnesota 5 FINAL(OT)
Dallas 4
Tennessee 67 FINAL
Kansas 82
Eastern Ill 40 FINAL
NC Central 65
New Orleans 65 FINAL
Texas A&M 87
Radford 65 FINAL
NC A&T 57
Butler 64 FINAL
Georgetown 58
Prairie View 71 FINAL
Brown 81
Southern U 63 FINAL
Northern Ariz 70
Santa Clara 44 FINAL
Rhode Island 66
IUPU-Ft Wayne 67 FINAL
Dartmouth 68
FIU 61 FINAL
Wright State 59
Texas-El Paso 77 FINAL
Xavier 73
Penn State 88 FINAL
Bucknell 80
James Madison 56 FINAL
Ohio State 73
Yale 66 FINAL
Providence 72
Lamar 59 FINAL
Texas Southern 71
Miss Valley St 66 FINAL
TX A&M-CC 75
Missouri State 55 FINAL
Alaska-Anchorage 51
Minnesota 66 FINAL
Georgia 62
Oklahoma 56 FINAL
Wisconsin 69
Stephen F Austin 83 FINAL
Austin Peay 62
Norfolk State 72 FINAL
St Francis-NY 70
Middle Tennessee 51 FINAL
Cincinnati 69
Char Southern 47 FINAL
Florida State 58
Princeton 65 FINAL
San Diego 75
Drake 46 FINAL
Valparaiso 66
Rice 74 FINAL
Washington St 76
USC Upstate 79 FINAL
Cal State Fullerton 64
Rider 54 FINAL
Georgia Tech 61
High Point 59 FINAL
Clemson 62
Emerson 50 FINAL
Hartford 83
Savannah State 71 FINAL
Jacksonville St 74
Monmouth 56 FINAL
Maryland 61
South Alabama 75 FINAL
Miami-Florida 87
Boise State 54 FINAL
NC State 60
Vanderbilt 65 FINAL
Rutgers 68
Gonzaga 73 FINAL
St Johns 66
Holy Cross 48 FINAL
Syracuse 72
Bradley 49 FINAL
TCU 57
Alabama State 91 FINAL
TX-Pan American 79
Delaware State 72 FINAL
Wake Forest 65
Tennessee St 58 FINAL
Saint Peters 66
North Carolina 75 FINAL
Florida 64
Memphis 72 FINAL
Indiana State 62
Hofstra 86 FINAL
Jackson State 56
Samford 64 FINAL
Louisiana Tech 77
Cleveland State 68 FINAL
Marshall 59
UT Martin 64 FINAL
Nebraska 75
SE Louisiana 61 FINAL
Tulane 71
Creighton 68 FINAL
Ole Miss 75
Murray State 61 FINAL
Portland 64
North Texas 73 FINAL
Arkansas 89
UNC Greensboro 79 FINAL
Indiana 87
Michigan State 79 FINAL
Marquette 68
Western Mich 79 FINAL
San Jose St 60
Stetson 62 FINAL
Northern Colorado 82
Texas-Arlington 81 FINAL
Montana State 104
Pacific 64 FINAL
Colorado State 75
Miss State 75 FINAL
Saint Louis 50
La Salle 56 FINAL
Virginia 64
North Dakota 53 FINAL
Utah 90
UCLA 88 FINAL
UAB 76
Baylor 54 FINAL
Illinois 62
Long Beach State 70 FINAL
Washington 80
Mercer 60 FINAL
UC Santa Barbara 65
LSU 23 FINAL
Texas A&M 17
(6) TCU 48 FINAL
Texas 10
Northern Ill 31 FINAL
Western Mich 21
Nebraska 37 FINAL
Iowa 34
Western Ky 67 FINAL
(19) Marshall 66
UCF 16 FINAL
So Florida 0
Houston 35 FINAL
SMU 9
Akron 24 FINAL
Kent State 27
Ball State 41 FINAL
Bowling Green 24
Buffalo 41 FINAL
Massachusetts 21
Toledo 52 FINAL
Eastern Mich 16
Arkansas 14 FINAL
(17) Missouri 21
Navy 42 FINAL
South Alabama 40
(13) Arizona State 35 FINAL
(12) Arizona 42
Stanford 31 FINAL
(9) UCLA 10
(21) Colorado State 24 FINAL
Air Force 27
Virginia 20 FINAL
Virginia Tech 24
East Carolina 49 FINAL
Tulsa 32
North Texas 11:00 AM
TX-San Antonio
Old Dominion 11:00 AM
Fla Atlantic
(16) Georgia Tech 11:00 AM
(8) Georgia
Kentucky 11:00 AM
(24) Louisville
So Carolina 11:00 AM
(23) Clemson
West Virginia 11:00 AM
Iowa State
Rice 11:00 AM
Louisiana Tech
Michigan 11:00 AM
(7) Ohio State
Purdue 11:00 AM
Indiana
Illinois 11:00 AM
Northwestern
Cincinnati 11:00 AM
Temple
NC State 11:30 AM
North Carolina
Syracuse 11:30 AM
Boston College
Louisiana 11:30 AM
Troy
Utah 12:00 PM
Colorado
Texas State 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Idaho 1:00 PM
Appalachian St
Wyoming 2:00 PM
New Mexico
New Mexico St 2:00 PM
Arkansas State
UAB 2:30 PM
Southern Miss
(4) Miss State 2:30 PM
(18) Ole Miss
Notre Dame 2:30 PM
USC
(10) Michigan State 2:30 PM
Penn State
(22) Minnesota 2:30 PM
(14) Wisconsin
(5) Baylor 2:30 PM
Texas Tech
Florida 2:30 PM
(1) Florida State
Rutgers 2:30 PM
Maryland
San Jose St 2:30 PM
San Diego St
Tennessee 3:00 PM
Vanderbilt
Kansas 3:00 PM
(11) Kansas State
Connecticut 3:00 PM
Memphis
BYU 3:30 PM
California
ULM 5:00 PM
Ga Southern
Middle Tennessee 6:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Hawaii 6:00 PM
Fresno State
Wake Forest 6:00 PM
Duke
Pittsburgh 6:00 PM
Miami-Florida
(15) Auburn 6:45 PM
(2) Alabama
(3) Oregon 7:00 PM
Oregon State
Utah State 9:15 PM
(25) Boise State
Washington 9:30 PM
Washington St
Nevada 9:30 PM
UNLV
UCF 12/4/14 6:30 PM
East Carolina
Northern Ill 12/5/14 6:00 PM
Bowling Green
(12) Arizona 12/5/14 8:00 PM
(3) Oregon
(19) Marshall 12/6/14 2:00 AM
TBA
(11) Kansas State 12/6/14 2:00 AM
(5) Baylor
Iowa State 12/6/14 2:00 AM
(6) TCU
Oklahoma State 12/6/14 2:00 AM
(20) Oklahoma
Hamilton 11/30/14 5:00 PM
Calgary
Michigan 76 FINAL
Washington St 64
Green Bay 71 FINAL
Georgia Tech 50
Eastern Kentucky 71 FINAL
Western Carolina 62
NJIT 65 FINAL
Florida Atlantic 57
Fordham 74 FINAL
Incarnate Word 42
Furman 63 FINAL
Florida State 94
Illinois State 44 FINAL
Miami-Florida 95
Eastern Michigan 74 FINAL
Cal State Fullerton 78
George Washington 74 FINAL
NC State 66
Ohio State 55 FINAL
Wichita State 70
Western Ky 69 FINAL
Tulane 64
La Salle 71 FINAL
Long Island 66
Binghamton 51 FINAL
St Johns 67
UNC-Asheville 52 FINAL
NC Central 55
North Florida 55 FINAL
UNC-Wilmington 41
Akron 73 FINAL
Belmont 58
Miss Valley St 46 FINAL
UMKC 62
Liberty 80 FINAL
Penn State 68
Colgate 44 FINAL
(21) Rutgers 60
Mercer 80 FINAL
Saint Louis 75
Northeastern 72 FINAL
No Dakota State 79
(10) Maryland 80 FINAL
James Madison 64
Villanova 46 FINAL
Arizona State 51
Tulsa 87 FINAL
Buffalo 77
Boston College 90 FINAL
Brown 80
Wyoming 63 FINAL
Iowa State 84
Weber State 100 FINAL
New Mexico St 97
Texas Tech 53 FINAL
Purdue 69
Washington 81 FINAL
Hartford 70
Fla Gulf Coast 86 FINAL
Clemson 61
Drake 69 FINAL
TX-San Antonio 61
UNC Greensboro 64 FINAL
Navy 71
(15) Nebraska 71 FINAL
UCLA 66
Northern Iowa 58 FINAL
Hofstra 61
Austin Peay 71 FINAL
Southern Miss 80
(17) Iowa 67 FINAL
Arkansas 77
Cal-Irvine 54 FINAL
Bowling Green 62
Samford 56 FINAL
Georgia State 61
Siena 78 FINAL
Denver 62
Abilene Christian 88 FINAL
George Mason 86
Towson 49 FINAL
Rhode Island 60
Howard 55 FINAL
St Marys-CA 80
Houston 67 FINAL
Idaho State 73
IUPUI 61 FINAL
Texas Southern 71
East Carolina 61 FINAL
Wisconsin 43
USC 88 FINAL
Sam Houston St 67
Minnesota 54 FINAL
Vanderbilt 71
Kent State 47 FINAL
TX A&M-CC 57
Montana 55 FINAL
Princeton 80
(9) Kentucky 92 FINAL
Oklahoma 88
Arizona 65 FINAL
FIU 58
Northern Ky 52 FINAL
Grand Canyon 45
Stetson 57 FINAL
Marist 50
American Univ 59 FINAL
Gonzaga 56
UAB 61 FINAL
Loyola Marymount 66
Oral Roberts 38 FINAL
NC A&T 47
Stony Brook 42 FINAL
(8) Duke 72
TCU 62 FINAL
Colorado State 76
(5) Stanford 54 FINAL
(11) North Carolina 70
Monmouth 82 FINAL
Wagner 59
Portland 59 FINAL
Nevada 84
Stephen F Austin 62 FINAL
UC-Riverside 90
Alcorn State 33 FINAL
Rice 61
Lafayette 61 FINAL
(12) Louisville 102
Florida 81 FINAL
Georgetown 73
Miami-Ohio 51 FINAL
Oakland 65
SE Missouri St 62 FINAL
Southern Ill 78
Florida A&M 46 FINAL
SMU 77
Northern Colorado 67 FINAL
Nebraska Omaha 58
Montana State 66 FINAL
CS-Northridge 78
(22) Syracuse 63 FINAL
(1) South Carolina 67
Dartmouth 74 FINAL
Cal Poly 61
Utah State 43 FINAL
(13) Baylor 99
Toledo 64 FINAL
Virginia 62
Christian Brothers 39 FINAL
Arkansas State 79
South Florida 67 FINAL
Illinois 61
Coll of Charleston 24 FINAL
(3) Connecticut 85
Wake Forest 65 FINAL
Charlotte 58
San Jose St 87 FINAL
(14) California 110
Central Michigan 73 FINAL
Oregon 67
Fresno State 93 FINAL
San Diego 88
Boston U 49 FINAL
New Mexico 56
Missouri State 59 FINAL
Colorado 87
Ole Miss 52 FINAL
Utah 38
Prairie View 58 FINAL
Hawaii 72
Army 61 FINAL
UC Santa Barbara 39
Cincinnati 52 FINAL
Creighton 63

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How will the Gophers and Vikings do this weekend?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close