Watch CBS News

PWHL Minnesota players reflect on capturing first ever Walter Cup: "It's surreal"

Fans, players still coming down from high of PWHL victory
Fans, players still coming down from high of PWHL victory 01:35

ST. PAUL, Minn. — After backing into the playoffs and losing seven straight, PWHL Minnesota had one choice in the semifinal round.

"I just think we said screw it. Just go out there and play," said Taylor Heise, who scored five goals and was named the playoff MVP. "That's when I think we played our best game out of the turn. And that's usually how it goes."

Then, Minnesota thought they had won it all. Until a goal was called back in game four and they lost.

"I think we were just angry that that happened, that we couldn't get it back together real quick after that," said goaltender Nicole Hensley. "I think you just kinda knew in that locker room, that yeah we're gonna do it."

The new league's finale game was one of Minnesota's best as they captured the first ever Walter Cup.

"It's surreal. You never know what that moment's like," said veteran forward Kelly Pannek. "Winning championships is always really special. But to be the first to win the Walter Cup in the PWHL is something that will go down in the history books forever."

During its inception, it was unknown if Minnesota would have a PWHL team. Now, a roster, with a large percentage of Minnesotan players, just won the inaugural championship.

"I'm so grateful that we do have a Minnesota team," said Roseville native and veteran defenseman Lee Stecklein. "I think this state deserves a team. I think we've proved that here with our amazing fanbase and crowd turnout."

"It just goes to show how truly special this place is for a lot of us," said former Breck High School and University of Minnesota star Grace Zumwinkle, coming off a successful rookie season in the PWHL. "Being able to play in front of family and friends every single night is very rare in professional sports and something we certainly don't take for granted."

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.