Beyond the Blueline: Comeback and a Commitment From a Northern Star

Eyewitness Sports
Updated: January 30, 2018 10:56 PM

"I think the hardest part emotionally was trying to find myself without hockey. From the point when I could put on a pair of skates, until my eighth grade year, that was my whole world. It's all I knew it's all I cared about honestly," said junior Cassie McClure.

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It wasn't easy decision, but as a freshman, the Duluth Northern Stars forward decided to step away from hockey after experience a few health issues.

"I just remember not feeling like myself. Something was wrong, I could just tell," she said.

It started as joint pains that quickly led to terrible fatigue. Eventually McClure found out she had Lyme disease that was caused by a tick bite. To add to that she suffered from a secondary condition called Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS). It's a condition that increased your heart rate simply when moving from a sitting down to standing position.

"It got to the point where my body couldn't handle it anymore," she said.

For almost two years, McClure didn't put on a pair of hockey skates.

"She didn't even come to tryouts," said Duluth Northern Stars head coach Jamie Plesha. "She wasn't going to play hockey. Then she came to our Jamboree, watched our Jamboree, and wanted to come back."

It was at that Jamboree that McClure realized how much she missed playing hockey and had a change of heart.

"That was when I realized there isn't a Cassie without hockey. I realized I just have to keep trying," said McClure.

She started off slow, reteaching her body just about everything from the speed of the game to just skating on the ice. During that McClure also took her first ever shift as a member of the junior varsity team and began to feel like herself again.

"It took a long time and a lot of work for her to realize this year how far she's come from last year. Just getting her to see that has been incredible," said Plesha.

In the end, her hard work and patience paid off. About two months ago McClure committed to play hockey for the University of Wisconsin Superior.

"She got down on herself a lot thinking that it would never happen. That she would never make it to college, that she just wouldn't get there. To find out that all of her hard work and effort paid off, I think all of us coaches were in tears," said Plesha.

"I never thought I was going to play hockey again in general. To even get the opportunity to play after high school, it's a dream come true," added McClure.

She said she learned from the experience that you can't control what happens in life, but you can control how it controls you.


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