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Avery Cheeseman of Minneapolis Washburn kept her mind and body active with her sport stuck on pause.

Artistic talents fill downtime for Minneapolis girls’ hockey player

By DAVID LA VAQUE, Star Tribune, 01/04/21, 11:45PM CST

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When she wasn’t involved in hockey training, Avery Cheeseman made earrings, wrote short stories and dabbled in poetry.


Avery Cheeseman of Minneapolis Washburn kept her mind and body active with her sport stuck on pause.

Avery Cheeseman said her Minneapolis hockey teammates consider her “a bit of a grandma” for creative inspiration.

As the spread of coronavirus triggered stay-at-home orders, Cheeseman made good use of her myriad talents both on and off the ice. When she wasn’t involved in hockey training, Cheeseman made earrings, wrote short stories and dabbled in poetry.

Minneapolis begins its season Jan. 11., marking Cheeseman’s third on varsity. She played for Holy Angels as an eighth-grader.

A sophomore defender, Cheeseman brings a steady presence to the blue line. But she said the reality of current events, from the global pandemic to local unrest in the wake of George Floyd’s death, proved challenging.

She found an outlet through short stories and poetry, activities she said engage her brain and sharpen her writing and cognitive skills while also nourishing her soul.

“Those activities have been extremely helpful for me,” said Cheeseman, who attends Washburn High School. “I recommend writing as an outlet because it’s good for your mental and emotional health.”

Cheeseman said her short stories are inspired by fantasy and lore, which she enjoys reading because they use “metaphors and analogies that can help us understand our world.” Meanwhile, her poetry “can be a little cryptic, and that allows it to mean something different to anyone who reads it.”

For fun, Cheeseman makes “weird and bizarre earrings” out of small baby figurines, Shrinky Dinks and clay.

“I saw a video on TikTok and I started making them last summer,” she said. “I even sold a few to friends.”

To stay sharp while waiting for the season to start, Cheeseman participated with many of her Minneapolis teammates in the XPL (Xtended Prep League), a fall season created by the sport’s leadership to keep players active. She works with a private skating coach. And she does yoga to increase her flexibility.

“It’s been a roller coaster for sure,” she said. “But I think my teammates and I kept the right mind-set.”

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