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Meet the Dawgs: Hailey Hultberg

RJ Craig | January 26, 2024

Before picking up a hockey stick and shooting pucks at a net, Hailey Hultberg competed at the ice rink, but not as a hockey player. Instead of lacing up her skates to play hockey, she laced up her skates to figure skate, starting at seven years old. 

It all began when her parents bought her a pair of rollerblades. Back at her childhood home in Illinois, she would skate up and down the cul-de-sac, which she would do until the weather got cold and the roads iced over. Much to her dismay, the Illinois winter ended her rollerblading fun.

Since Hultberg could no longer rollerblade, her mom signed her up for ice skating lessons. Learning how to ice skate paved the way for her involvement in figure skating, which soon turned into competitive figure skating, something she would go on to do for twelve years. 

Later, her family moved to Park City, Utah, the perfect place for Hultberg to continue to skate, especially in the winter when the ponds would freeze. In high school, she continued skating, but she also started watching her high school’s men’s hockey team, which gave her an appreciation for hockey. 

However, after high school, she was forced to hang up her skates, since few schools offered figure skating scholarships. Not to mention that for her, academics come first, so she was more concerned about attending a strong academic school and focusing on her education than continuing her figure skating career. 

It is no wonder she decided to go to the University of Georgia, a school that, while not exactly known for ice sports, especially not figure skating, is quite the academic powerhouse. 

During her freshman year, she knew she wanted to get involved with something. The only question was what to get involved with. 

Shortly, she discovered an opportunity to intern for the UGA men’s hockey team. She reached out to the head coach, John Camp, and asked if she could be the power skating coach, to which he agreed. 

She was heavily inspired to get into power skating by a well-known power skating coach named Katy Jo. Hultberg explained that hockey players work with power skating coaches on skating fundamentals to improve their mobility on the ice. 

So that season, she worked with the players on the men’s team on their skating, something she very much enjoyed, growing her affinity for hockey. 

Eventually, her involvement with the men’s team led to her joining the women’s team. 

“One door closed, another one opened,” Hultberg said.

The transition from figure skating to hockey was seamless, especially since she already knew how to skate. Although, one significant change for her was the team-sport aspect of hockey. Playing hockey allowed her to adopt a selfless mindset, putting her teammates before herself.

Since joining the team, she has learned a lot about herself during the time spent with her teammates—her favorite part about playing hockey is playing alongside them. 

“I absolutely love the girls,” Hulberg said. “It's been really interesting to have that team mentality because we all have to work together and we're all one piece of a bigger puzzle.” 

Though the women’s hockey program at UGA is only in its inaugural season, Hultberg has already made many memories with the team. She particularly remembers her time at the Columbus tournament at the start of the season. 

“It was a great opportunity to meet new people and play different teams. And I know our first game, we got beat quite badly. But I feel like that was probably one of my favorite experiences because a lot of the team had never played before,” Hultberg described. “And the moment they stepped on the ice, something clicked—like we're actually doing this now.” 

Now in her third year at UGA, the biomedical physiology major plans on applying to PA school. With her double minor in sports management and exercise science, she aspires to work in the sports medicine world.


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