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Blues to honor gold medalist Nicole Hensley on March 15

Hensley is former goaltender for Lindenwood University, where hockey programs are thriving

by Kearstin Cantrell / St. Louis Blues

Team USA women's hockey goalie Nicole Hensley will be honored at the March 15 game when the St. Louis Blues host the Colorado Avalanche.

Hensley won an Olympic gold medal with Team USA in Pyeongchang, South Korea on Feb. 22.

Fans can view Hensley's gold medal outside Section 114 at the game.

Hensley made her Olympic debut when the United States took on Olympic Athletes of Russia where she earned a shutout with 13 saves.

Coincidentally, Hensley has strong ties to both Colorado and St. Louis.

From 2012 to 2016, the Lakewood, Colorado native spent four years in the St. Louis area at Lindenwood University, located in St. Charles, where she played for the NCAA Division I hockey team. While at Lindenwood, Hensley earned a .921 save percentage and was the NCAA Division I all-time saves leader with 4,094 career saves.

However, Hensley isn't the only great hockey player with ties to Lindenwood University.

Former Blue Rick Zombo has been coaching the Lindenwood Division I men's ice hockey team since 2008. Zombo spent over 12 years as an NHL defenseman, four of those which were spent as a member of the St. Louis Blues (1991-95).

During those four years, Zombo racked up 231 games, 6 goals, 42 assists and 233 penalty minutes.

Zombo began his coaching career at Lindenwood as an assistant coach in 2008 before moving to the head coach position in 2010. During his first two years on the coaching staff, the team earned two national titles in the American Collegiate Hockey Association. However, the team has made numerous national championship appearances since.

This season, Lindenwood men's Division I and Division II teams will be heading to the the American Collegiate Hockey Association National Championships from March 8-18.

The Division I team will enter the single-elimination tournament as the No. 3 seed.

The Division II team, coached by Lindenwood alumnus Gary Gardner, will go into the tournament ranked seventh nationally and has accumulated the best record going into the semifinals.

Off the ice, Lindenwood's Division I roller hockey team has also ensured its appearance in the National Collegiate Roller Hockey Association national tournament this season. Previously, the team has won nine national titles.

Looking at the success of Lindenwood hockey programs, one thing is clear: the Blues are not the only team in the St. Louis area making a name for hockey in the midwest.

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