CATCHING UP WITH BOSTON PRIDE ALL-STAR LEXIE LAING
By Dan Rice
Fans of the NWHL obviously know the Laing name. Denna played with the Boston Pride in the 2015-16 season and was a member of the league's first Isobel Cup championship team. On Sunday, the Pride held their annual Denna Day in her honor. In 2017-18, Brianna played goal for Boston and this season Lexie Laing is starring as a rookie forward for the undefeated Pride. Laing is one of the Pride's representatives for the 2020 NWHL All-Star Weekend in Boston and is emerging as one of the best centers in the NWHL.
Lexie is currently the NWHL’s top-scoring rookie with 23 points (11 goals, 13 assists) and ranks fourth among all skaters in scoring. She plays in all situations for the Pride, is ranked fifth in the league in faceoffs won (190) and second in face-off winning percentage (.613), fourth in power-play goals (3) and second in game-winning goals with three.
Laing has mainly played on a line alongside fellow rookies Tori Sullivan (21 points) and Carlee Toews (13 points) and the trio is tearing up the NWHL while helping to make Boston the deepest team in the league. The Marblehead, Massachusetts native was named the VEDA Player of the Week back on Oct. 15 after scoring her first goal as a pro.
We caught up with the youngest Laing sister after a recent Pride game in Connecticut to find out why she has been so successful this season, carrying on the Laing Legacy in the NWHL, and much more.
NWHL: How do you feel you have been playing this season?
Lexie Laing: I think I’ve been playing well. I have two great linemates and our D are amazing, so everyone makes everyone else look better. I’m playing well and my line is playing well - two good linemates who always cover up if I make a mistake!
NWHL: In college, your career-high was 26-points and this season you’re already almost there with 23 points and a handful of games left on the schedule. What do you think has been the secret to your success?
LL: That was my senior year. Like with my sister – you never know how many games you have left. I just always try to give it my all every single game. Maybe that’s it, I don’t know. I’m just living every moment to the fullest.
NWHL: Back in Harvard not only were you a good player, but you were also named to the All-Academic Team. That tells me that you were not only excelling on the ice but also in the classroom. What was your major and how were you able to balance all of that and be successful?
LL: I majored in Biology, so that meant a lot of labs and time spent there outside of class. Once I got to college, I really learned about time management and using every second I have at my disposal to get things done. I’m hoping to one day be a veterinarian and I have applied to vet schools.
NWHL: You’ve been extremely successful on face-offs this season, you’re ranked second in the league behind your teammate and captain Jillian Dempsey. Is that something you work on?
LL: I think face-offs are a huge part of the game and usually the team that wins more of them wins the game. As a center, I focus a lot on those in practices and games. It’s the start of every play and it’s a mini-battle in every game; you want to win as many as you can.
NWHL: What would you say is the strongest part of your game?
LL: I would probably say just my work ethic, especially in focusing on trying to win every little battle - like getting to loose pucks first. It’s something that changes momentum in games and can change the flow of games. When I’m having a tough game, I just try to take a step back and focus on my work ethic.
NWHL: Boston drafted you a few years back (2017, 12th overall) but even before that happened was it a goal of yours to play in this league?
LL: Yeah, definitely. My two older sisters played on the Boston Pride and seeing how much fun they had, and the fact that they were able to continue playing hockey after their college careers ended. It was definitely something that I wanted to do, to follow in their footsteps.
NWHL: You played a few games without your linemate, Carlee Toews, but your line was still able to produce. Was it an adjustment at all?
LL: There’s definitely an adjustment period but we practice together all the time. We’re always switching up lines and sometimes people can’t be at practice because of other commitments. So, during the week, everyone has the chance to practice with each other. It might be a slight adjustment early in a game, but we adapt pretty quickly.
NWHL: How much fun did yourself, Tori and Carlee have participating in the Dunkin Donuts Challenge that aired on the Pride’s social media channels?
LL: It was a good time! The donuts were a little hard to find on the table with the blindfolds on! I will say our line did not do so hot in practice that night. We had all those donuts sitting in our stomachs. It was a lot of fun though.
NWHL: What do you like best about having Paul Mara as your coach?
LL: I really love having him as a coach. He expects a lot out of us, but so do all of the girls in the room. We want to meet his expectations - which are our own expectations of ourselves. We all mesh really well, and he and our assistant coaches have us focus on getting better every single day, every practice, every game. I think it’s a great mentality to have.
NWHL: You and your teammates are off to a fantastic start this season, what would it mean to you to win the Isobel Cup at the end of it?
LL: Personally, I think it would be great because the last time Boston did win it, my sister Denna was on the team. I think it would be great to bring that Cup back to the family. There are a few players on our team who have been in the league a while now, I think everyone is kind of itching for it.
On Monday, the Boston Pride will host the Metropolitan Riveters at the Warrior Ice Arena at 1:30 p.m. ET. Tickets for that game and future Pride home games are available at pride.nwhl.zone/tickets. All Pride games and the upcoming NWHL All-Star Weekend can be watched streaming live and free on the NWHL on Twitch.
Photo Credit: Michelle Jay