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Edina's coach Slominski will miss season

By DAVID LA VAQUE, Star Tribune, 10/31/13, 11:00AM CDT


Laura Slominski is recovering from a neck injury

Edina girls’ hockey coach Laura Slominski will not be behind the bench this season.

Slominski, who underwent surgery Oct. 1 after suffering a neck fracture while playing in a women’s hockey game, said in a post on her Caring Bridge site: “Not knowing how my recovery will go, we needed to hire an interim coach for the season to make sure the kids get what they need and to give them the opportunity to have the season that they deserve. While it will be tough to be on the sidelines, I know it is what is best for the kids.”

Earlier posts indicated Slominski “went hard into the boards, back-first and suffered a C5 fracture in her neck.” The surgery at North Memorial Medical Center “went according to plan” and a more recen post indicated “everything looks good and is healing the way it is supposed to.” Slominski “can move both arms and legs and has full feeling in her hands, legs and feet.’’

Slominski, who has coached at Edina since 2008, played high school hockey in Burnsville, where she earned Ms. Hockey honors in 1998. She played for the University of Minnesota and was captain in 2001-2002. She later was an assistant coach at the university and St. Cloud State University, and served as head coach for Bloomington Kennedy.

The full post from Oct. 27:

The Minnesota State High School Girls Hockey Season begins tomorrow and for me it is a bitter sweet time. It is always an exciting time of year, and I am so excited for all of the girls who get to begin their journey together as a team tomorrow. I know how hard all of the Edina girls have worked and how excited they are for the upcoming season (and I am sure every other program in the state is in the same place) and tomorrow is when all of that hard work starts to pay off. 

The hard part is that I will not be able to coach this season (I am not sure I have discussed that on here yet). Not knowing how my recovery will go, we needed to hire an interim coach for the season to make sure the kids get what they need and to give them the opportunity to have the season that they deserve. While it will be tough to be on the side lines, I know it is what is best for the kids (which is really all that matters) and I will be behind them 100%...just in a different capacity.

I wanted to take this opportunity to send a message to all coaches: high school, college, and youth coaches of all sports. As I have been reading through the guestbook on here, and have been receiving mail, messages, gifts, and having visits, I have heard from many coaches I have had throughout my life. From all the way back from playing U10 soccer up through my college days of hockey at the University of Minnesota, to coaches I have coached with and against in both the college and high school hockey ranks, I have received well wishes from across the country. This has reminded me of what a special community the coaching world is and I just wanted to thank all of you for all of your love and support.

Most of all though, I want to thank you for all that you do for kids across the country. Again, as I have been going through this injury and the recovery it has given me a lot of time to reflect on my life. I have had time to think about how I want to handle everything that comes up and to think about how I became the person that I am. Time and time again, I come back to life lessons that my coaches, teachers, and parents have taught me ever since I was little. I was so blessed to have incredible coaches my whole life. Yes, we always wanted to win, but I knew they cared so much about me as a person. It was just as important for them to help me and my teammates to develop as people as it was for us to win games. These life lessons that I was taught and the mental toughness I gained through being an athlete has given me the strength I have needed to be so positive in my journey. Without the coaches in my life, I am not sure I would be handling it the same way, so again thank you!

As we head into another high school hockey season, don't forget the impact that you as coaches have on these girls every single day. I can speak from personal experience and say that there will come a day when these girls are no longer competitive hockey players, and the life skills that you have had an opportunity to instill in them will make a difference in their life.

Girls, as you go through tryouts, be confident, give all that you have to give so that you can walk away with no regrets, and make the most of every moment this season. We always talk about how you want to give your best because you don't know what is going to happen in life. This is another reminder for me as 4 weeks ago from this very moment, I was getting ready to put the kids to bed and then headed off to my hockey game, just as I have done many times. I am happy to say that at least I got hurt giving my all! But, before that game, I was so excited to be coaching in four more weeks. I was excited to see all the girls every single day, to create memories with them that will last a life time, to teach each other life lessons through all of the ups and downs of a season, and to give our all together each and every day to give ourselves the greatest chance of success. Four weeks ago today, I was excited and ready to be the Head Coach of the Edina Girls Varsity Hockey Team for the 6th season, and 4 weeks minus 4 hours ago from this moment that all changed. Again, I can't control what happened to me, only how I react to it. I am glad that I have given my all to coaching for the past 5 years at Edina so that when I have to sit this one out it is with no regrets. No matter what happens for you this week at tryouts, and throughout this season, remember to focus on what you can control, and give your all in everything you do, so that when all is said and done you can walk away with no regrets and you can be proud of all that you and your teammates have accomplished together.