Jessie Vetter has enjoyed a highly decorated hockey career at the international level with the U.S. Women’s National Team.
As the 29-year-old prepares for another tournament — the Four Nations Cup set for Nov. 4-8 in Sweden — Vetter said she wants to continue playing at the same elite level she’s enjoyed throughout her illustrious career.
“For me, I think going into every tournament, I want to come in and compete and play at a high level,” Vetter said. “At my age, people always say you can’t get better and you can’t grow, but I think as you get older, you have to put different things into your game that will help as you continue to age.
“You have to get better at different things that will help you become an even better goalie.”
Vetter is a two-time silver medalist, having backstopped Team USA at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games and the Vancouver Games in 2010. She has also played in seven International Ice Hockey Federation Women’s World Championships, winning five gold medals and two silver medals.
She credited teammates for her success.
“I’ve played with a lot of great players on a lot of great teams,” Vetter said. “I’d call myself pretty lucky, and they have made it pretty easy for me.
“If you give your team an opportunity to win at the end of the game you know you did your part. I’m lucky and fortunate enough to be part of some great teams and I still enjoy it, so that’s why I keep showing up, competing and trying to get better.”
Next up is the Four Nations Cup, an event she’s participated in seven times. Vetter backstopped the U.S. to three first- and second-place finishes and a third.
“This one is a smaller setting, but at the same time, it’s fun,” Vetter said. “You know going in it’s going to be good competition and it’s one of the things we look forward to the most.”
Vetter’s career was just as decorated at the University of Wisconsin, where she won a then-NCAA record 91 games, including 39 shutouts, a mark that hasn’t been broken. She also broke the NCAA single-season goals-against average mark, becoming the first goaltender to post a goals-against average below 1.00.
In addition, Vetter, a Cottage Grove, Wisconsin, native, carries a shutout streak of 448 minutes and 32 seconds, the longest in not just NCAA women’s hockey history but also men’s.
“I was born and raised in Wisconsin, so it was always in the back of my mind that if I ever had the opportunity to play at Wisconsin, I would take it,” Vetter said. “I was fortunate enough to be able to do that and play for a great coach like Mark Johnson and so many great players I continue to play with.
“It’s something I really enjoyed and look back on with a lot of great memories.”
While Vetter wants to prolong her hockey career as long as possible, she’s also looking ahead towards the future. In May, she will marry Scott McConnell, the grandson of legendary coach Bob Johnson.
“I’m trying to find a balance when it comes to everyday life, spending time with my family and friends,” Vetter said. “I enjoy what I’m doing right now though. I’m still pushing myself to grow and get better and whatever comes my way, we’ll go at when that happens.”
Vetter’s next challenge is the Four Nations Cup.
“I think any opportunity you have to get together with teammates and coaches and wear the U.S. jersey in a tournament setting is always exciting” Vetter said. “I’m definitely looking forward to going over, having some fun and playing good hockey.”
Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.