by Bruce Strand, Sports Editor
You can add Kaylee Forster to the elite list of Elk hockey players who skate in Division I. The senior defenseman, who’s a force on both ends of the rink, is set for New Hampshire.
Forster is an all-conference pick since 10th grade, a four-year starter with 20 career goals and 56 assists, and carries a robust plus-15 rating this year.
‘“Kaylee is a real good two-way player,” coach Joe Heasley said. “She can handle the puck, make nice passes and shoot when it’s there. She can make plays on the power play and penalty kill. She has been around a long time, and she is pretty smart out there.”
Forster will be the eighth Elk girl to play D-I and will rejoin Jonna Curtis, former Elk teammate, with the Wildcats.
UNH showed interest two years ago when Forster’s summer team, the White Caps, played in Vermont. She visited the campus and talked to the coaches at that time and was delighted when UNH coaches made an offer a couple weeks ago.
“It all kind of fell into place,” Forster said. “I loved the campus, and the coaches were really nice. Playing with Jonna again will be just a bonus.”
While helping shore up the Elks’ defense, the 5-foot-9 Forster has been the team’s third-leading scorer each of the past three seasons.
“Kaylee is a big, strong kid and can hold her own in the corners,” said Heasley. “Just an all-around very good player.”
She has seven goals and 14 assists for 21 points for the Elks (12-8-5). Her plus-15 means that when she’s on the ice, the team has 15 more goals scored than allowed.
As a junior, Forster notched 10 goals and 15 assists on a 12-13-3 team. As a sophomore, she had three goals and 18 assists for a 20-4-3, conference champion team. Those teams lost in the section finals. Her freshman year, she helped a 22-9 team reach state and place fifth, as the fourth or fifth defenseman.
In lacrosse, she played midfield last year and helped the Elks reach state. Coach Stephanie Anderson said Forster’s athletic ability showed as she made good contributions moving the ball and defending.
The hockey veteran describes her role this year as “like a quarterback” but adds that leadership duties are shared by three captains. Forster, Emily Heid and Mandy Sailor are the only seniors, with five freshmen, six sophomores and six juniors among the 20 seeing regular action.
“We are kind of mother hens, I guess. But I like that. I like to help,” Forster said. “They need all three of us to help everyone stay focused and get ready to play, and pull the team together when we are behind, and pick ‘em up when they are down.”
Asked her top hockey thrills so far, Forster lists the state tourney in ninth grade and last year’s section semifinal win over Cloquet-Esko-Carlton, 6-5 in overtime after trailing 3-1. Of course, she hopes to add to those benchmarks in the current playoffs before moving on to the next lofty level.
THE FORSTER SCORECARD
Personal file — Age: 18 … Family: father Pat, mother Kim, brother Kyle, 20, sister Kelsey, 14 … Sports: hockey, lacrosse … Other activities: Impact, prom squad, yearbook … Academics: 3.2 GPA … College plans: New Hampshire, hockey, sports medicine
Favorite stuff — Class: Physics … TV show: “Hockey! Especially the Black Hawks.” … Movie: “The Heat” … Music: country and Justin Bieber … Food: Chipotle chicken burrito … Drink: water, Powerade blue … Team: Black Hawks … Athlete: Patrick Kane … Kickback activities: tubing, waterskiing … Wants to visit: Mexico