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The Minnesota Whitecaps have announced the team’s coaching staff for the 2018-19 season, in what will be its first year in the NWHL. The head coaching duties will be shared by one of the founders and long-time coach of the Whitecaps, Jack Brodt, and one of the original Whitecaps players, Ronda (Curtin) Engelhardt. The two will be assisted by another former Whitecap, Laura Slominski. Actually, all three of these coaches were a part of the first Whitecaps team in 2004 – Brodt as a coach and Engelhardt and Slominski as players. The three will now be working together in the next chapter of this program’s long and storied history, as Minnesota joins the professional ranks as part of the NWHL.
Brodt has been a part of the Whitecaps coaching staff since the inception of the program and led the team through several successful seasons in the Western Women’s Hockey League (WWHL) beginning in 2004 until the league folded in 2011. In 2010, the Whitecaps became the first American team to win the Clarkson Cup, as they defeated the Brampton Thunder of the CWHL 4-0. Brodt’s daughters, Winny Brown and Chelsey Rosenthal have been members of the Whitecaps for their entire post-college careers.
As a player, Engelhardt helped lead the Roseville Raiders to two state championships before receiving Minnesota’s Ms. Hockey award in 1999. At the University of Minnesota, she was part of the 2000 national championship team and later named a two-time All-American after switching from forward to defense during her junior year. She was also a Top-3 finalist for the Patty Kazmaier Award in 2002. In 2015 she was inducted into the “M” Club Hall of Fame. Her coaching career has also been impressive and historic, as she became the first person to win a Minnesota high school hockey state championship as both a player and a coach. She coached the Breck Mustangs for five years, culminating in the 2018 Class A championship with a dramatic overtime win over Warroad.
Assisting Brodt and Engelhardt behind the bench will be Laura Slominski. She and Engelhardt were teammates at the University of Minnesota and with the Whitecaps. Slominski was a captain at Burnsville HS and took home the Ms. Hockey award in 1998. She was inducted into the Burnsville HS Hall of Fame in 2013. In college, she was a member of the 2000 national championship team and a Kazmaier Top-10 finalist in her senior year. Her five-year college coaching career as an assistant took her from St. Olaf College, to St. Cloud State University, and then to the University of Minnesota. In 2008 she took a teaching job at Edina HS where she also became the coach for the Hornets. Incredibly, during her seven seasons as the head girls’ hockey coach at Edina, her team reached the state tournament six times.
The Whitecaps will begin play for the 2018-2019 season on September 22 when they will face the University of Minnesota Duluth in an exhibition game in Duluth, MN at 4 pm.