In a small ice rink in Shoreline, Washington, the 12-and-under Washington Wild girls hockey team packs into a tight off-ice room to watch some film. As the girls glue their eyes to the screen, head coach Anne-Marie Dion sets up the projector, types in GoNUxstream.com, and starts showing Northeastern women’s hockey games.
Dion picks out key moments in the games for the girls to learn from, including power plays, penalty kills, and notable goals. Her team has watched Northeastern take on Boston University, Boston College, and Colgate. She also likes to highlight misplays, so that her team can learn that even high-level players make mistakes.
“Some of these girls watch Northeastern women’s hockey and see it as the best of the best, and what they aspire to be one day,” says Dion, who graduated from Northeastern in 2016.
The girls are mind-blown by the idea of four hockey teams playing in one city, such as Boston, says Dion. After all, the closest Division 1 women’s hockey team is 1,500 miles away in Minnesota.
But Dion is no stranger to Northeastern hockey. She was a member of the club hockey team for five years, and worked for Northeastern Athletics for four years doing color commentary on broadcasts of the women’s hockey games at Matthews Arena.
“I’m just trying to spread the love of Northeastern hockey wherever I go,” says Dion, who majored in business with a concentration in marketing and finance.
While her players aspire to play at the highest level, Dion has always dreamed of being a coach. She started playing hockey at the age of 10, getting coached by her dad. As a teenager, she started getting involved in local skate programs and goalie coaching in upstate New York.
Over the course of three co-ops at Northeastern, Dion continued to find opportunities to practice her love for coaching hockey. First, she worked for the Boston Bruins as a hockey development intern, helping to run different hockey camps and teaching kids fundamentals of the game. She discovered local hockey programs to volunteer for in her free time during her second co-op, which was with IBM in New York. Her third co-op was in Seattle, Washington, where she found time to coach lacrosse while working for Amazon Web Services full time.
After graduating from Northeastern in 2016 and moving to Seattle, Dion continued working for Amazon and discovered the Washington Wild. This year, Dion lead the Wild to its most successful year in program history with a record of 36-7-2.
“I feel so fortunate to be in a position where I can have such an impact on girls lives, and help them grow as players, and more importantly as people,” says Dion.
Although it is an all-female hockey association, Dion is only the second female coach of the Washington Wild 12-and-under team. She says most young female hockey players are used to being coached by their dads, as she was growing up.
“Some of the parents have told me how happy they are to have a female coach for their daughter to look up to,” says Dion. “I’m really motivated to be the best role model I can be for my girls.”