One-on-One with Women’s Hockey Head Coach Liz Keady Norton

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The Big Green are off to an 8-10 start in Keady Norton’s first season with the team.

by Heath Monsma | 6 minutes ago

Source: Courtesy of Dartmouth Athletics Department

Just after the mid-season of the regular season, the women’s hockey team is on track to record its best record in eight years after an 8-10 start. Some credit is due to stars such as Sydney Herrington ’23, a freshman transfer from Northeastern University who was recently named the ECAC Player of the Month. The key to the team’s strong start, however, has been their overall consistency as a player. The Big Green have 13 goalscorers this year, but no player has more than six goals. This unit amid the chaos of the pandemic is the work of head coach Liz Keady Norton, who was hiring in May.

Keady Norton is no stranger to victory, especially in the ECAC and the Ivy League. As a player at Princeton University, she was an integral part of a team that recorded winning records over the four years. As an assistant coach at Harvard University, she was part of a team that beat six ranked opponents during the 2015-16 season, and during her four-year tenure as head coach Assistant and associate at Boston University, his teams went 8-1-1 against opponents from ECAC. Dartmouth spoke with Keady Norton to discuss how they’ve been able to deliver results in a tumultuous first year and their hopes to build on success for the remainder of the season and into the future.

The women’s hockey team could finish at 0.500 or above for the first time in five seasons. What do you attribute this success to?

LKN: Well, something that gets us excited is the work ethic of children in a year when COVID-19 is still relevant. We have been prepared to adapt and face what presents itself to us. Some things are done differently, like having the attackers play on defense and have training with more or less players, but the kids are all in and they are committed to making a change in the program to get us on a better trajectory.

When you hired in the spring, you stressed the importance of consistency for morale and the development of skills in a team. In light of this, how were you able to keep the unit in limbo due to COVID-19?

It’s always something I say that we work on every day. What we control as coaches is the energy and our level of commitment to these kids. Hopefully we create an uplifting but positive atmosphere on the ice. Putting children in situations where they can be successful or learn from them is really important to me.

You have described yourself as a “game-oriented coach”. How well do you feel you were able to relate to the players and what impact has that had on the team culture?

Hope it had a positive impact because that’s who I am as a person. The more I get to know these kids, the more I can be of use to them as a coach, mentor, and person who makes decisions about where they will be most successful. It has helped us so far, but I have been very lucky to have a really good group of kids who are high-tempered, hard-working and very welcoming from the start. They made my transition one of the easiest.

What adjustments did you have to make in your first year at Dartmouth compared to other coaching positions you have held?

There have been a lot of adjustments for me as a new head coach, like learning what we have in the program. There is a lot of talent in this dressing room, but as you get to know the players you are better able to put them in better positions for them to be successful within our squad.

Over the course of the season, the program has seen a few stars emerge such as Herrington, who has just been named CEAC player of the month. Did you expect the impact she would have this season?

I was excited about [Herrington] right from the start. Her experience in Northeastern was a good start for her here. I am excited about all the success she has had so far and more excited about what the future holds. She was an energetic, very positive and hardworking child who came along and was ready to do whatever we needed in any role. I feel like our locker room is really lucky to have him on and off the rink.

Going forward, what are your goals for the rest of the season and beyond?

I want to continue to win and make the playoffs. Looking at our schedule we can hopefully have a little race, but at the very least set the new standard that Dartmouth is a team that wants to compete in the ECAC. Beyond that, hopefully in the very near future we can be in the top 10 teams and fight for the national championships like Dartmouth did before.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity and length.



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