Having led the United States to a gold medal at the inaugural IIHF Ice Hockey U18 Women’s World Championships in 2008, Alex Rigsby established herself as a future superstar for her country. Hailing from Delafield, Wis., she is the first goaltender in American hockey history to compete at the under-18, under-22 and senior levels.
“I did not realize that, but it is pretty cool,” she told HockeyCanada.ca “I know that the under-18 team is huge for our program. I am pretty excited that I accomplished all three of those.”
When she was in high school, Jessie Vetter was the starting goaltender for the University of Wisconsin Badgers. Vetter would help the squad claim three NCAA Division 1 Frozen Four titles (2006, 2008 and 2009). The opportunity to now call Vetter a teammate, especially on the U.S. national women’s team, is a special one for Rigsby.
“It is really fun to play with her. I remember going to Badgers games when I was younger. It was pretty exciting to watch her then,” Rigsby remembered. “Knowing we are teammates; it is exciting and awesome. She is a great person and teammate. Just a great goalie partner to be with.”
At Wisconsin, she has had the opportunity to play for Miracle on Ice player Mark Johnson, who also coached the U.S. women’s team at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver, B.C. The opportunity to play for him is a valued one for Rigsby.
“Coach Johnson is an unbelievable coach. He is the most modest person. He is on the ice every day and it is so much fun (to play for him). He really helps and he is an awesome coach to have.”
In her first two seasons with the Wisconsin Badgers, Rigsby became the fastest to win 60 games in an NCAA career. With 83 career wins, the possibility of surpassing Noora Raty, who has 112 wins, as the all-time NCAA wins leader is very realistic.
During her freshman season with the Badgers, Rigsby was the starting goaltender for a Badgers team that claimed the 2011 NCAA Frozen Four Championship. “It was a phenomenal team that first year and a great run to win the national title. We played a lot of games and it was fantastic to play on that great team.”
While Rigsby suited up for the Wednesday, April 3 contest against Finland, it was in a backup capacity. During practices, the opportunity to grace the ice with her USA Hockey teammates is one that she embraces wholeheartedly.
“It is awesome. There are people here like Julie Chu, Vetter and Meghan Duggan. The mix of players here, I played against many of them at college. I know them from that way, but it is really fun to play with those girls.”
Although the American roster for the 2014 Olympic Winter Games will not be named for several months, the dream of an Olympic gold medal is a big one for Rigsby.
“It would mean the world to me,” she said. “I have dreamed about this for so many years. Hopefully, I can reach it. It is really exciting and the chance to play with the team next year would be huge.”