The University of Minnesota women’s hockey team announced on Wednesday that junior goalie Alex Gulstene has left the team and retired from hockey as a result of concussion symptoms.
Gulstene started Minnesota’s first game of the season against Colgate, but left the game after the first period and has not returned since.
She was expected to split time in net this season with senior goalie Sydney Scobee, with whom Gulstene split goaltending duties last season. Scobee has played well in her absence, posting a .939 save percentage. It does leave a bit of a hole in Minnesota’s future plans, however, with Scobee graduating after this season and Minnesota’s goalie of the future, Skylar Vetter, not joining Minnesota until the 2021-2022 season. Minnesota has a talented freshman in Makayla Pahl, but the loss of Gulstene certainly leaves them much thinner at a key position.
Gulstene’s career, sadly, ends with a what-if. It can’t be overstated how brilliant she was in leading Team USA to gold medals as the starting goalie at the 2016 and 2017 Women’s World U18s. She made 19 stops in the 2016 gold medal game, helping the US to a dramatic 3-2 overtime victory over Canada in Canada. The following year, she shut down a Canadian team with the likes of Daryl Watts, Emma Maltais, and Amy Potomak in a 3-1 victory, the only US medal round game to not require overtime in the past six years. But her health and well-being is the first priority and hopefully Gulstene can reach the same levels of success in her next venture.