Page 2 of 2 Previous

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

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

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

  • Video: Famous hockey couple find love in coaching

    Tuesday December 25, 2012

    Minnesota’s hockey glam couple, Krissy (Wendell) Pohl and John Pohl, are happy to be fairly typical parents after taking...

  • 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

Buffalo 17 FINAL
New England 9
Cleveland 10 FINAL
Baltimore 20
Dallas 44 FINAL
Washington 17
Indianapolis 27 FINAL
Tennessee 10
Jacksonville 17 FINAL
Houston 23
San Diego 7 FINAL
Kansas City 19
NY Jets 37 FINAL
Miami 24
Chicago 9 FINAL
Minnesota 13
Philadelphia 34 FINAL
NY Giants 26
New Orleans 23 FINAL
Tampa Bay 20
Carolina 34 FINAL
Atlanta 3
Detroit 20 FINAL
Green Bay 30
Oakland 14 FINAL
Denver 47
Arizona 17 FINAL
San Francisco 20
St. Louis 6 FINAL
Seattle 20
Cincinnati 17 FINAL
Pittsburgh 27
Arizona 1/3/15 3:35 PM
Carolina
Baltimore 1/3/15 7:15 PM
Pittsburgh
Detroit 103 FINAL
Cleveland 80
Houston 106 FINAL
San Antonio 110
Oklahoma City 107 FINAL
Dallas 112
New York 79 FINAL
Portland 101
Toronto 116 FINAL
Denver 102
Phoenix 116 FINAL
LA Lakers 107
Toronto 4 FINAL
Florida 6
Vancouver 1 FINAL(OT)
Anaheim 2
Tulane 57 FINAL
St Johns 82
Central Conn St 48 FINAL
Connecticut 81
Iona 81 FINAL
Drexel 62
Concordia (MI) 42 FINAL
Eastern Mich 100
Harvard 46 FINAL
Arizona State 56
Longwood 64 FINAL
Ball State 69
Sacred Heart 76 FINAL
Brown 79
Colgate 64 FINAL
Columbia 69
MD-Eastern Shore 78 FINAL
Duquesne 69
UNC Greensboro 50 FINAL
East Carolina 71
Marist 64 FINAL
Elon 69
NJIT 71 FINAL
Lafayette 76
Cincinnati Christian 58 FINAL
Liberty 78
Morgan State 53 FINAL
Marquette 81
Campbell 56 FINAL
Samford 65
Bucknell 71 FINAL
Siena 73
Long Beach State 67 FINAL
Syracuse 85
Coppin State 80 FINAL
Evansville 85
UMKC 73 FINAL
Indiana State 70
Hofstra 88 FINAL
Long Island 62
Coast Guard 48 FINAL
Army 93
Thomas (GA) 48 FINAL
High Point 85
Texas Southern 58 FINAL
Kansas State 56
Rutgers 59 FINAL
Monmouth 58
NC Wesleyan 54 FINAL
NC A&T 58
South Dakota St 63 FINAL
Northern Iowa 74
Central Penn College 69 FINAL
Radford 119
Bowling Green 79 FINAL
South Florida 70
Harris-Stowe 66 FINAL
SE Missouri St 94
Robert Morris-IL 56 FINAL
SIU Edwardsville 104
Northland College 59 FINAL
North Dakota St 83
Milwaukee 60 FINAL
South Dakota 84
Northwestern St 92 FINAL
Arkansas 100
Saint Peters 59 FINAL
Cornell 52
St Katherine 62 FINAL
Fresno State 93
Haskell 42 FINAL
Oral Roberts 94
Wake Forest 65 FINAL
Richmond 63
Fla Gulf Coast 57 FINAL
Xavier 71
SD Christian 45 FINAL
Northern Ariz 71
Judson 46 FINAL
IUPU-Ft Wayne 80
Ill-Chicago 60 FINAL
Bradley 68
Loyola-Maryland 61 FINAL
Fairfield 59
Miss Valley St 53 FINAL
Houston 80
Lehigh 58 FINAL
UMBC 55
Delaware State 56 FINAL
Temple 66
Belmont 56 FINAL
Butler 67
Howard 59 FINAL
Fordham 74
NW Christian 67 FINAL
Nevada 81
UC Davis 83 FINAL
Washington St 90
Abilene Christian 81 FINAL
Grand Canyon 83
UCLA 50 FINAL
Alabama 56
Stony Brook 62 FINAL
Washington 57
Buffalo 56 FINAL
Wisconsin 68
CS-Bakersfield 55 FINAL
California 52
Cincinnati 17 FINAL
Virginia Tech 33
(15) Arizona State 36 FINAL
Duke 31
Miami-Florida 21 FINAL
So Carolina 24
Boston College 30 FINAL
Penn State 31
(25) Nebraska 42 FINAL
(24) USC 45
Texas A&M 1:00 PM
West Virginia
Oklahoma 4:30 PM
(18) Clemson
Arkansas 8:00 PM
Texas
Notre Dame 12/30/14 2:00 PM
(22) LSU
(13) Georgia 12/30/14 5:45 PM
(20) Louisville
Maryland 12/30/14 9:00 PM
Stanford
(9) Ole Miss 12/31/14 11:30 AM
(6) TCU
(21) Boise State 12/31/14 3:00 PM
(12) Arizona
(8) Miss State 12/31/14 7:00 PM
(10) Georgia Tech
(19) Auburn 1/1/15 11:00 AM
(17) Wisconsin
(7) Michigan State 1/1/15 11:30 AM
(4) Baylor
(16) Missouri 1/1/15 12:00 PM
Minnesota
(2) Florida State 1/1/15 4:00 PM
(3) Oregon
(5) Ohio State 1/1/15 7:30 PM
(1) Alabama
Houston 1/2/15 11:00 AM
Pittsburgh
Iowa 1/2/15 2:20 PM
Tennessee
(11) Kansas State 1/2/15 5:45 PM
(14) UCLA
Washington 1/2/15 9:15 PM
Oklahoma State
East Carolina 1/3/15 11:00 AM
Florida
Toledo 1/4/15 8:00 PM
Arkansas State
Drexel 71 FINAL
Miami-Ohio 54
Holy Cross 63 FINAL
Norfolk State 62
East Carolina 62 FINAL
South Florida 69
(10) Oregon State 63 FINAL
(8) Tennessee 74
Providence 51 FINAL
Boston College 79
Florida A&M 47 FINAL
Miami-Florida 83
Oakland 69 FINAL
Central Michigan 74
Chattanooga 59 FINAL
SIU-Edwardsville 49
Fairfield 59 FINAL
La Salle 73
St Francis-PA 59 FINAL
Pittsburgh 97
Milwaukee 72 FINAL
IUPU-Ft Wayne 78
Gardner-Webb 59 FINAL
Longwood 63
New Hampshire 58 FINAL
Manhattan 54
Bucknell 68 FINAL
Binghamton 57
Northeastern 70 FINAL
Albany 67
George Mason 70 FINAL
Towson 72
Richmond 59 FINAL
William & Mary 56
Tulane 60 FINAL
Cincinnati 50
North Florida 51 FINAL
Florida 63
(14) Georgia 51 FINAL
Seton Hall 70
Tennessee St 75 FINAL
(12) Kentucky 87
American Univ 64 FINAL
Wake Forest 77
Massachusetts 78 FINAL
Boston U 57
Quinnipiac 69 FINAL
Saint Josephs 67
Lafayette 49 FINAL
Saint Peters 34
Northwestern 61 FINAL
(20) Michigan State 57
Duquesne 82 FINAL
Lehigh 75
George Washington 72 FINAL
Loyola-Maryland 49
(17) Rutgers 66 FINAL
Indiana 51
(24) Green Bay 66 FINAL
Dayton 72
Western Mich 55 FINAL
Stony Brook 59
Davidson 67 FINAL
Virginia 57
UNC Greensboro 61 FINAL
LSU 82
Denver 63 FINAL
North Texas 55
VA Commonwealth 63 FINAL
Coppin State 52
Huston-Tillotson 36 FINAL
Houston Baptist 86
Lamar 63 FINAL
Rice 97
Miss Valley St 40 FINAL
Alabama 71
Saint Louis 63 FINAL
Eastern Illinois 49
Middle Tennessee 98 FINAL
Tenn Tech 76
Penn State 52 FINAL
(23) Iowa 77
Purdue 62 FINAL
Illinois 55
DePaul 99 FINAL
Illinois State 62
Sam Houston St 46 FINAL
Wichita State 70
South Dakota 76 FINAL
TX-San Antonio 69
(4) Notre Dame 82 FINAL
UCLA 67
Coll of Charleston 51 FINAL
SC State 60
Alcorn State 53 FINAL
Texas-El Paso 63
Dartmouth 76 FINAL
Niagara 70
Colgate 68 FINAL
Siena 80
Michigan 53 FINAL
Wisconsin 63
Fla Gulf Coast 73 FINAL
CS-Northridge 64
Yale 51 FINAL
(25) Arizona State 69
UC Santa Barbara 34 FINAL
(16) Stanford 90
Long Island 63 FINAL
Long Beach St 71
Jackson State 56 FINAL
Louisiana 65
Eureka 50 FINAL
Western Ill 91
Cornell 59 FINAL
(22) Syracuse 76
Temple 58 FINAL
Memphis 57

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Grade the Vikings offense

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