Former Raider standout earns collegiate academic honor

Former Roseville Area High School hockey standout Lee Stecklein, now a member of the University of Minnesota women’s hockey team, recently earned a prestigious academic award from the Big Ten Conference.

Stecklein was awarded a Big Ten Distinguished Scholar Award for the 2015-16 school year.  

Big Ten faculty representatives established the Distinguished Scholar Award in 2008 to supplement the Academic All-Big Ten program. To be eligible for the Distinguished Scholar Award, recipients must be in their second academic year at their institution and must have a grade-point average of at least 3.7. The grade-point average threshold for the Academic All-Big Ten award is 3.0.

Stecklein was one of 72 Golden Gophers and three members of the women’s hockey team to land the Distinguished Scholar Award. She is now a three-time recipient of the honor.

Stecklein is majoring in entrepreneurial management at the Carlson School of Management. In addition to the Distinguished Scholar Award, Stecklein has also been named Academic All-Big Ten and Academic All-WCHA multiple times.

Earlier this summer, Stecklein was named to the 2015-16 CoSIDA Academic All-America Division I At-Large team.

In three seasons playing for the Gophers, Stecklein has helped guide the team to three national championships. Stecklein and Minnesota won NCAA titles in 2013, 2015 and 2016. In 2014, Minnesota finished as the national runner-up but Stecklein was not on the team that year. Instead, she spent the season training for and playing in the Winter Olympics in Sochi. Team USA finished as the silver medalists after losing to Canada in overtime in the gold medal game.

Stecklein’s playing honors this season included a second-team All-America selection, a second-team All-United States College Hockey Online nod and an All-WCHA first-team selection. She also landed a spot on the NCAA Frozen Four All-Tournament team.

Stecklein will enter the 2016-17 season in search of a fourth national championship and it will be her third season as a team captain. She was an assistant captain as a sophomore and served as co-captain along with Hannah Brandt as a junior. 

In her senior season, she will be the lone captain and will be assisted by fellow seniors Kate Schipper and Dani Cameranesi.

Once her college career is completed, Stecklein will have the opportunity to play professionally in the United States. She was the No. 2 overall selection in the National Women’s Hockey League draft on June 18. 

The Buffalo Beauts picked Stecklein, who became the fifth Gopher taken in a NWHL draft. The league completed its first season in 2015-16 and features four teams: the Boston Pride, Buffalo Beauts, Connecticut Whale and New York Riveters.

To be eligible for the NWHL draft, players must have completed their junior year of college eligibility and are not allowed to sign a professional contract until following their senior season.

Stecklein’s first possible year of NWHL play would be in 2017-18 but that may have to wait if she makes the U.S. national team that will play in the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea.


Brian Meyers can be reached at or 651-748-7819. Follow him on Twitter @BMeyersNews.






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