Siren, Wisconsin is a tiny town of 806 residents, and it sits in the northern part of the state. Since a severe tornado tore through the town in 2001, many of the downtown businesses have rebuilt, giving this once aging community a spiffy new log-cabin look replacing their original Lilac theme.
There is a large, beautiful motel now and a popular restaurant and banquet center right across the street from the lake.
Something else that Siren can boast about is one of their own who grew up in the house her parents still own and has excelled in the sport of women's hockey.
Molly was always an outdoor person; anything she could find to keep busy outside from playing with the neighborhood kids to helping her parents with yard work.
Her older brother Chris was her first inspiration when it came to sports. He was the first to play hockey, he was also an excellent football player as Siren's quarterback, and he ran track and field. "I don't remember any time in my life when there weren't sports," Molly said, a regional champion volleyball player, a state cross-country runner, a state golfer, and a state champion discus thrower; and although the seasons collided, "I even got to play basketball one year," Molly smiles.
Because Webster had a hockey team that's where Molly spent every spare minute in the winter, on the outdoor rink. She became a Webster Tiger at the age of six. Until then she would dress in Christopher’s equipment to get the feeling of what it would be like to be a hockey player.
At age 12, Molly tried out for the AAA Boys hockey team in Superior called Team Wisconsin. For the tryouts, she tucked her long hair under her helmet and looked like a boy. One of the boys trying out had long hair, and he left his hair hang outside of his helmet. They both made the team.
From there Molly climbed a long ladder. Most of the hockey advancements come from people scouting out talent. That is how she ended up in Minnesota playing for the Minnesota Thoroughbreds. She played for them for three years on weekends and went to tournaments with them in Chicago. She changed schools before her junior year to finish her education at Culver Academies in Indiana.
After graduating in 2001, she was recruited to play for the Badgers at UW Madison where she also earned a degree in Natural Resources with a concentration in Landscape Architecture.
From there it was on to the National Team. First stop was the U22 National and then on to the Senior National Team out of Lake Placid, NY. She stayed with the team from 2001 until 2013.
Molly's first Olympic tryout was in 2006, and she made the cut, adding Turin, Italy to her resume.
The team won Bronze in Italy and then in 2010 in Vancouver, her team won silver. "The Olympic Village was an exceptional place," Molly says, "to be surrounded by some of the World's Best Athletes and most dedicated people I have ever met was incredible."
One of the highlights of her career was when Molly was awarded the Best Defensemen in the World at the 2010 Olympics. She usually treated each game the same, focused and as a job to do, but in 2010 she looked up and felt the excitement of the 20,000+ people in the stands and felt their support and energy. Molly continued to participate in World Championships for Team USA until 2013 when she retired at the age of twenty-nine.
At that time it was the middle of February, in Boston and Nemo, New England's blizzard of 2013, just moved in. Molly needed a change of pace, so she reached out to a friend in Maui, and he hired her to make the move feasible. The idea was to get as far away as she could possibly get from any sort of ice. The intention was to find a place to decompress from what had been a half of a lifetime on the ice and to try to process the change that was happening. There she worked construction feeling akin to her father who was a carpenter before he bought the ABC Siding franchise in Siren.
Six months into her time in the Islands, she connected with the United States Olympic Committee and applied for a scholarship that was being offered to the Russian International Olympic University where she ended up earning her Master's Degree in Sports Administration.
The journey continued, she then moved back to the U.S. for two years where she took a job as an Assistant Athletic Director and Girls Varsity Hockey coach in New Hampshire. During that time the newly formed U.S. Professional Women's Hockey League, the NWHL, called her and asked her to join the Connecticut Whale. She accepted.
After a year and a half with the league and team, it was off to Sweden in 2016 to play for the Svenska Damhockeyligan, SDHL, or the Swedish Women's Hockey League. She lived and played in Stockholm for Djurgården, named after one of Stockholm's many islands. At that time she was in Sweden for three months playing and observing the kind of hockey they played there, the league, the culture, the people, and the sports clubs. Everything that was hockey in Sweden she was taking in.
She returned to Sweden the following year for the 2017/18 season. At this point, she realized that she was truly living a dream. In grad school, she wrote her dissertation on the gap in Women's International Ice Hockey, between North America (the U.S. and Canada) and the rest of the world. She was now experiencing her research in real time. She saw an opportunity to support the women in Sweden on and off of the ice, she encouraged them to speak up for themselves and to stick together as they push forward to try to better their situation.
Currently, Molly is contracted with the United Women's Sports group out of Rhode Island whose goal is to link sponsors and investors with women's sports teams making professional sports more profitable to women. Molly sees an opportunity for something to be done with UWS and is looking forward to the future.
The company has already set a date for their first event called the Aurora games, which will be a World Team vs. a North American team to be held in Massachusetts in August 2019.
Meanwhile, Molly has just returned from Sweden after a ten-day stay to visit friends, to feel out the landscape of the year, and stay connected.
"Unfortunately, on the one hand, I don't have to worry about the language barrier because everyone there speaks excellent English. I wish I were forced to speak it more so I could learn faster," Molly says.
When asked what her motive was for steadily advancing in her sport, she said that her goal was to "keep growing." Her five-year plan? She hasn't got one. She is the same today as she was when she was six-years-old, ready for anywhere the world of hockey will take her.