Lauren Bernard Thankful for Ohio Hockey Roots
Cleveland-area youth hockey players in search of inspiration need look no further than the small town of Madison, Ohio. A mere 45 minutes east of downtown Cleveland, Madison is the home of women’s ice hockey star Lauren Bernard.
The 17-year old standout recently finished a stint with the USA National U18 Women’s Team at the World Championships in Obihiro, Japan, where she helped the Americans earn a silver medal following an overtime loss to Canada in the championship game. For Bernard, it was an experience to cherish.
“It was a lot of fun but also a lot of nerves and a lot of emotions,” said Bernard in a recent interview. “But it was a great experience and something I’ll never forget. Just having the opportunity to play and wear that USA jersey was really special.”
Lauren’s hockey roots trace back to her youth when she made trips to The Q (known as Gund Arena at the time) to watch the Cleveland Barons compete in the AHL.
“My older cousin played for the Barons,” explained Bernard. “I would go to his games when I was little and wanted to try it. Once I did, I loved it. I started playing at Mentor then I moved to Gilmour before joining the Tier II Cleveland Barons at 12 years old. At that point I moved into playing in girls hockey leagues.”
According to Bernard, her progression as a hockey player has really picked up steam over the last couple of seasons.
“It’s really taken shape over the last three or four years,” said Bernard. “I’ve always been a pretty steady player and have continuously gotten better as I have moved through the ranks, but once I started participating in the USA camps, I began realizing [not only the talent] that I had but the talent that all the girls [around me] had, and what I needed to do to improve to be on the same level that these other girls were.”
This fall the 5’7”, 150 lb. defender will join the two-time defending NCAA Champion Clarkson University’s women’s hockey team. Bernard spoke with excitement about her decision to make the move to Potsdam, New York to join the Golden Knights.
“I am very excited,” explained Bernard. “It’s a small school, so being from a small town like Madison, it reminded me of that and that’s what I like about it so much. Their academics are very good, and they obviously have a very good women’s hockey program as well.”
It’s been a whirlwind couple of years for Bernard on the ice and she didn’t hesitate to offer advice to young players, just taking up the game.
“The biggest thing is skating. It’s the most important thing you can work on at [such a young age] and you need to be the absolute best you can possibly be,” said Bernard. “That’s one thing that helped carry me and is a big reason why I am where I am today.”
Bernard will be in attendance and receive special recognition at the Monsters game this Friday when the team hosts the Milwaukee Admirals at 7:00 pm at The Q.