She's won high school and NCAA championships, Olympic and international medals, and numerous individual honors. Now Krissy Wendell can add another accomplishment to her résumé:
U.S. Hockey Hall of Famer.
Wendell, the former Gophers and Olympic star and one of the most-decorated players in Minnesota history, will be one of five 2019 inductees into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame, USA Hockey announced Wednesday.
Wendell joins NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, former Boston College and New Jersey Devils star Brian Gionta, Washington, D.C., hockey organizer Neal Henderson, and former Vermont and Boston Bruins goalie Tim Thomas in the hall's Class of 2019. The induction celebration will be Dec. 12 in Washington.
"I just played because I love the game," she said. "… I could have never dreamed then the opportunities this sport would provide … It's been fun."
The Brooklyn Park native led the U to two NCAA titles and was the 2005 Patty Kazmaier Award winner as college hockey's best women's player. A three-time All-America selection and two-time WCHA Player of the Year, Wendell had 106 goals and 131 assists in 101 games.
Wendell played for Team USA in two Winter Olympics, earning a silver medal in 2002 and serving as captain and winning bronze in 2006. She led the U.S. to its first world championships gold medal in 2005 as tournament MVP. Former U.S. Olympic coach Ben Smith once described Wendell as "the best player he's ever coached."
Wendell, 37, couldn't pinpoint just one highlight; the camaraderie with teammates is what stood out.
"For me, it just was the memories and the friendships and the teammates," she said. "The wins and losses and the championships are great, but really, just being in the locker room and being able to travel. The funny stories that can be exchanged over text messages now are really what's kind of stuck with me."
One of those teammates is Natalie Darwitz, who with Wendell led the Gophers to two NCAA championships in 2004 and '05 and the Olympic medals in 2002 and '06. Darwitz was inducted into the Hall of Fame last year.
"Natalie is one of my best friends, and I'm honored to go in with her," Wendell said.
Wendell, who is married to former Gophers standout and NHL player John Pohl, is proud of how the women's game has grown since her playing days.
"I now get to watch my three little girls that are 11, 9 and 7 and share the game with them," she said.