No matter who the competition is, it’s a good bet Zoie Campbell is going to make the save.
Campbell, a goalie pulling double duty for both the Dimond boys hockey team and the Dimond/West girls team, has established herself on both teams as a junior.
After being on the boys JV team last year and varsity for the girls since she was a freshman, this is her first year on both varsity squads.
“She works very hard, she obviously loves being a goalie, she spends so much time on the ice working at her craft,” Dimond/West girls coach Brian Gross said. “She’s very good and it’s fun to watch her play.”
Campbell has been playing the sport since she was 11, starting with the boys as well as the girls to push herself against tougher competition.
“Obviously, there’s a difference between playing with boys and girls,” Campbell said. “The competitiveness, the shots, the level of play. It’s a faster pace to play when you play with the boys teams.”
She said playing with the boys helps her improve in fast-paced games, no matter what the venue.
“I’m used to a fast pace so if I come into a game that’s faster than expected, I can pick up on it,” Campbell said.
In addition to playing on varsity boys and girls hockey teams at Dimond, she also plays on the Team Alaska 16U squad. She says that she practically lives at the rink and her practice schedule during the week is evidence of that.
“Well, we’re very fortunate to have the Dimond boys practice just right before the girls at Dempsey, so she just stays for back-to-back practices,” Gross said
She’s a fixture at the Dempsey-Anderson Ice Arena and UAA sports complex, where Team Alaska practices.
“She’s always up at goalie clinics early in the morning before school and oftentimes she’s at the rink,” Gross said.
When it comes to the games, there are only a couple of scheduling conflicts that affect her ability to play for both teams in the same week.
“All the girls games are Friday nights, and there’s only a handful of boys varsity games on Friday night,” Gross said. “When that happens, I’ve got two other goalies.”
In events where there are some scheduling conflicts, her coaches leave it up to her to decide which game to prioritize and play in.
“I think from her standpoint, the boys varsity is a higher level so I think that’s the priority, but she makes everything she can for the girls,” Gross said.
When asked how she handles the strain on her body that comes with so much time on the ice between the games and practices that comes with playing on two different teams, Campbell said she uses a lot of Liquid I.V. to help with recovery.
She has been the sole starter on the boys team to open the season because their other goalie didn’t have enough practices when it began.
“Zoie is a really good goalie and has a good future ahead of her with college hockey if she stays at it,” Dimond boys coach Dennis Sorenson said. “She’s been lights out. Undefeated this year for us and is playing really well.”
The Lynx intend to rotate Campbell and their other goalie as the season progresses, but they feel like they have a pair of high-caliber goaltenders.
“She’s one of the top girl goalies in the country,” Sorenson said.
With Campbell safeguarding the net, the Lynx won the girls championship last year and placed third the year before that. After claiming a title in Alaska, the team traveled down to Texas and finished second at nationals.
“She’s just a great kid, always positive, a good teammate, cheers on her other teammates,” Gross said. “Sometimes if we have a big lead, we’ll pull her and put in another goalie and she’s very supportive of her fellow goalies.”
Her goal is to play hockey in college for a Division I program and, as one of the best female goalies in her age group, she is well on her way to achieving it in the eyes of both her coaches.
“It’s always great to see whenever we have any athletes up here in Alaska that are doing well nationally and getting recognized and likely will go on and play after high school,” Gross said. “(I’m) always supportive of that and (am) excited for local kids to do well, and she’s one that’s doing very well.”