Marissa Gedman’s hockey resume is packed.
During her stint on the Harvard Crimson’s ice hockey team, Gedman racked up more than her fair share of icy accolades: ECAC [Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference] All-Rookie Team. Game-winning goal in ECAC quarterfinals. All-Ivy League Honorable Mention. Team Captain both junior and senior year. ECAC Championship. Berth to the Frozen Four.
Not to mention, also being named to the ECAC All-Academic Team while studying Pre-Med. And this summer, she was drafted to the fledgling National Women’s Hockey League’s Boston Pride.
But Gedman’s journey to professional ice hockey hasn’t always been as smooth as her play on the ice.
After Gedman scored the game-winning goal against Princeton in overtime at the ECAC quarterfinals, it seemed inevitable that she would go on to win a spot on Team USA for the 2014 Olympics in Sochi.
“That whole summer I was lights out,” said Gedman. “All I did was train. I didn’t have a job, and I was locked in. It was do or die.”
Then, during an off-ice workout the summer of 2012, with just less than a year until the Olympic tryouts, Gedman ruptured her achilles tendon. She took a year off from Harvard to fully commit to the healing process.
“Once that moment passed, it was, ‘How can I reroute this journey to get to the same end point?’” Gedman said.
Rupturing an achilles tendon is oftentimes a career-ending injury, especially for an athlete competing at Gedman’s level; for those who do come back, the recovery process is long and grueling. Gedman was back on the ice in only five months, way ahead of her rehab schedule, but wasn’t playing in top form. The invitation to the Olympic tryouts didn’t come.
She returned to Harvard as the only Team Captain; the other two Team Captains were busy readying themselves for the Olympics. As one of the only returning upperclassmen on the team, Gedman focused on helping her younger team members to grow and learn their place on the Crimson.
By the time her senior year rolled around in fall of 2014, her entire team was reunited, and together, they won an ECAC Championship title, a berth to the Frozen Four, and were the runner-up at the NCAA Championships.
Until recently, Gedman’s hockey career would have ended there.
“I had already stopped playing and was contacted by Dani Rylan [NWHL Commissioner] about my interest in the league,” Gedman said. “As a young girl, hockey was never supposed to work out to be a career. The fact that the NWHL is starting to pave that path is really monumental to women’s sports in general, but also women specifically in whatever professional field, and empowering them to do what it is that makes them happy and feel good.”
Now, she will be returning to Harvard, but this time as a professional hockey player. Gedman was drafted by the Boston Pride, one of the four teams in the recently launched NWHL, who will play their home-games at none other than her alma mater.
“I remember my saddest game of senior year was the last game at Bright-Landry Center,” Gedman said. “[But] then I signed with the Pride. I’m not leaving yet — can’t get rid of me too easily!”
Once again, October will come around and once again, Gedman will return to Harvard ice — only this time, she’ll swap out the crimson for yellow and black.