Shooting for Impact
As a female hockey player, Maddy Cardaci is all too aware of her sport’s limited career options, even for the most elite players. True, there’s now the National Women’s Hockey League, “but in that league you still need a second job,” she notes. There’s the U.S. national team, which represents the country in the Olympics, but the slots are so limited, “you work your hardest and see if you get picked.” And then there is playing at the highest collegiate level, Division 1 women’s hockey, an achievement that Maddy has been dreaming about since she began playing the game as a five-year-old in Westminster, Massachusetts.
While her success pursuing the first two options is still to be determined (she attended the USA national team camp in Minnesota this summer), Maddy will be fulfilling her college dream next year, having committed to play for Boston University, a program that has won five Hockey East championships since its founding in 2005, and this year won the Beanpot, the annual tournament of Boston-area colleges.
Coming to Williston, an option made possible through the school’s Christine Johnson Tyler ’75 Scholarship, was a key to her development—both as a player and as a person, she says. “The program has helped me tremendously,” says Maddy, who as a defenseman helped her Wildcats to a remarkable 22-2-2 record last year. “Coach Talbot—I don’t think there’s been a coach in my hockey career that has made a greater impact on me. She’s pushed me to be my best. I’ve developed into a smarter player, a harder working player. And it’s about so much more than hockey.”
Indeed, as important as the school’s hockey program has been, it was the welcoming community that first drew her to Williston. “I just felt more comfortable than I did at any other school,” recalls Maddy, who has been a three-sport varsity athlete—in field hockey, hockey, and lacrosse—since she arrived as a ninth grader. The school’s financial aid was also a key factor, she notes, both for her and her mother, a special education teacher.
In addition to the Wildcats, Maddy plays year-round for the East Coast Wizards, a regional hockey club whose roster includes a number of her Williston teammates. This summer, when she wasn’t training or at hockey camp, she worked teaching the game to younger players at a camp in Bedford, Massachusetts. The experience has made her think more about possible paths after Boston University.
“I definitely want to work with kids,” she says, “and make an impact.”