RocJocks: Lyndsay Wall broke hockey barriers

Lyndsay Wall grew up in an era when only boys played ice hockey, but her determination both on and off the ice helped to break down those barriers and usher in a new era for women in the sport.

She started playing at age 8, usually as the only girl on her team, and she didn't just hold her own, she stood out.

Wall captained the Rochester Americans Peewee Major AAA boys' team in 1998-99, and went on to play for Churchville High School. Boys the same age were always bigger and faster, but that wasn't the only challenge she faced.

"I heard the slurs," Wall once said of her time playing with boys. "I had guys take runs at me and try to check me extra hard or trip me. But I've been fortunate because there have only been isolated incidents. And my teammates have been real good to me. They don't put up with the cheap shots and the other stuff."

Wall's gritty play as an offensive-mined defender didn't go unnoticed. She was just a junior in high school when she was named to the U.S. women's national team in the fall of 2001, joining their worldwide training tour leading up to the 2002 Games in Salt Lake City.

Just 16 years old, Wall was the youngest player on a team comprised primarily of players who'd already finished college. She made the 20-woman squad and won a silver medal as the U.S. lost the championship game to Canada. Wall played in all five games, tallying one assist and had a team best plus/minus rating of +11.

She went on to play two seasons of college hockey at the University of Minnesota, where she earned a number of honors, including being named All-American. Wall also helped the Golden Gophers win back-to-back national championships in 2004 and 2005.

She returned to the Olympics in 2006, part of a US team that won a bronze medal in Torino, Italy.

Today, Wall lives in California and works as a corrections deputy.

Each week, we recognize a great sports figure from the Rochester area. See the complete list and read more about each one at RocDocs.com/Athletes.

Several readers wrote in to nominate Wall, including Kevin Yost and Paul Ruben.

Whose name should we add next? Send me an email with your suggestions.

SLAHMAN@Gannett.com