Woman Crush(ing It) Wednesday: Brianna Decker

Wow, did anyone out there watch that Mets game last night? I definitely spent three hours of my evening clutching my face and feeling like I was gonna barf, and this post very nearly almost didn't get written after that. But then I decided to get my ish together, because the National Women's Hockey League had its first games this past weekend, and that is EXTREMELY exciting. I mean, a paid professional women's hockey league? I am so here for that. And I'm not going to pass up an opportunity to talk about my favorite female hockey player!

+ Brianna here has been a big deal in the world of women's hockey for a pretty long time now. She grew up playing on boys' teams before playing four years of high school hockey at the acclaimed Shattuck-St. Mary's School, which is known as "the Hogwarts of hockey" and is "to hockey what Harvard is to law." Other alums include Zach Parise and Sidney Crosby. It's no joke. She won three national championships there, scoring 122, 124 and 126 points in her sophomore, junior and senior seasons, respectively.

+ After graduating high school in 2009, Brianna attended the University of Wisconsin. And she basically kind of dominated everything. She holds the program record for highest career plus/minus (the measure of a player's goal differential) with +175. UMMM, holy cow. Her college athletic bio is basically a laundry list of insane accomplishments, including the 2011 NCAA Championship and the 2012 Patty Kazmaier Award (given to the nation's top women's collegiate player).

+ Brianna tried out for her first Olympic team in 2010 and didn't quite make the cut. But it wasn't long before she was making her mark on the senior national team the way she had on the junior level. At the 2012 world championships she led the tournament with a +13 rating, and in 2013 she led the tournament with six goals, was named to the media all-star team and was voted one of Team USA's top three players. She DID make the Olympic team in 2014, scoring two goals and four assists in five games en route to the silver medal (let's... not talk about it). She is, however, a two-time world champion and served as alternate captain for the 2015 team (and scored the winning goal in the gold-medal game against Canada. Hell yes).

+ After all of this, Brianna played a season with the CWHL's Boston Blades. She was completely dominant, scoring 32 points in 12 games (omg?!) and finished second in the league in scoring. "What Decker accomplished this past season would be like Connor McDavid breaking into the NHL next season and eclipsing the 150-point plateau." Yeaaahhh buddy. The Hockey News lists her as the top women's player in the world after her 2014-15 season. She's now with the NWHL's Boston Pride, makin' history, y'know, all casual.

+ But personally, my favorite thing about Brianna is that she's comparatively tiny. She's only 5'3", which is really small for a hockey player -- she has to ask her taller teammates to help her get her helmet and gloves down from the top shelf in her locker before hitting the ice. (Girl, I feel you so hard on that!) But she plays a really physical game anyway, is deceptively strong for her size and is able to use her low center of gravity to her advantage; so basically, she turned her weakness into a strength. #yaaaasss

Like I said, Brianna's playing with the Boston Pride now, and all NWHL games will be streamed (fo' free!) on their YouTube channel. So check out a game or two (or all) and watch this tiny blond girl crush her competition. :)

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