Hoeppner heading west in career move

  • Maddie Hoeppner patrols the sidelines for the Husson Eagles in Bangor, Maine. Her next stop is Colorado Springs, Colo. contributed photo/monty rand

  • Maddie Hoeppner looks on from the sidelines for the Husson Eagles in Bangor, Maine. Her next stop is Colorado Springs, Colo. contributed photo/monty rand

Recorder Staff
Thursday, June 15, 2017

It’s going to be quite a summer for Madeline Hoeppner.

The Shelburne Falls native and Mohawk Trail Regional High School Class of 2009 graduate began a new job on May 30. After three years coaching field hockey and women’s lacrosse at Husson University in Bangor, Maine, Hoeppner decided to take her talents across the country to Colorado Springs, Colo., for a new challenge in the sport she’s excelled at since elementary school. Hoeppner, who helped lead Mohawk to a western Massachusetts championship during her senior year in Buckland, was tabbed as the new Events and Club Services Coordinator for USA Field Hockey, the national governing body of the sport.

“A couple of my buddies were moving west, so I had talked about how I’d like to join them but I didn’t really want to give up the position (at Husson) for just another job,” Hoeppner recalled. “If I was moving, it had to be a next step forward for me.”

Field hockey has always been in Hoeppner’s life. Mother Lynn coached her at Mohawk while also serving as a fixture in the club circuit. Madeline graduated from Mohawk and played Division I field hockey at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Conn., graduating in 2013 after a four-year career on defense.

Hoeppner stayed in Connecticut after graduating from SHU, taking a job with Christopher Peacock Cabinetry in the customer service/marketing department. It was there that she was approached about continuing her field hockey career, this time at the coaching level. She was asked to coach the varsity team at Ridgefield High School, and when her employer allowed her to shift her work hours to accommodate the new responsibility, she was on board for the fall 2013 season.

“I ended up having practice from 5 to 7 p.m. that whole season on top of the 40 hours a week I was working,” she recalled. “If the company had never let me be flexible with my schedule, I never would’ve been able to coach those girls. That really opened the door to the next opportunity.”

Hoeppner spun that season coaching at Ridgefield into a collegiate gig, as she was hired at Husson to coach the field hockey and lacrosse teams for the NCAA Division III institution. In three seasons with both programs, she was the second-winningest coach in women’s lacrosse history with 21 wins and was the fourth-winningest head coach in program field hockey history with 25. Hoeppner led Husson field hockey to two NAC Championships and two NCAA Tournament appearances.

Despite building a contender in Bangor, Hoeppner decided to seek out the new job with USA Field Hockey. The application process went quickly, and things escalated in late April into May before she was offered the job as Events and Club Services Coordinator. She offered her resignation in early May, finishing up at Husson on May 17.

“There’s never really a good time to leave and I was definitely sad to leave everyone at Husson because the players especially really impacted me as a coach,” Hoeppner offered. “It took a while for it to get announced so I didn’t really tell a lot of people it was happening.”

The new job working for USA Field Hockey will see Hoeppner taking on a variety of different roles.

“I am doing everything from planning major events to the rostering process, facility process, marketing and all that,” she explained. “A lot goes into these huge events throughout the year. This is all kind of brand new to me but definitely having played, coached and watched the sport for so long, I’m very familiar with how the whole process goes. I’ve never been on the side of doing the functionality of these events so it’s new but like I said, everything is still very familiar to me.”

The USA Field Hockey office in Colorado Springs, which also serves as home to the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) Headquarters, houses less than 15 employees. The organization has roughly 30 employees throughout the country, as much of the work is done on-site at various tournaments and championships. Hoeppner will see that first-hand this summer, as her travel schedule has her hitting the ground running.

She’ll be in Rhode Island this weekend for the Summer Bash in Providence, while also making trips to Lancaster (Penn.), Virginia Beach and Detroit before summer’s end. Hoeppner will also be in attendance at The National Hockey Festival, the largest field hockey event in the world, which will take place in November in Palm Beach, Fla.

One big change for Hoeppner is the fact that she won’t be coaching anywhere this fall. She said she may decide to get her umpiring license and do some officiating at the high school level, but the grind of a college coaching season is something she won’t be experiencing.

“It’s going to be very strange come October and I have weekends off,” said Hoeppner, who also coached the Maine Majestix club team in addition to Husson.

While Hoeppner hasn’t had much time to acclimate to her surroundings after going right into job responsibilities and travel upon arriving in Colorado after a cross-country road trip with her mother, her new role is the culmination of a lot hard work and sacrifice over many years of field hockey involvement as player and coach.

“It kind of hit me the other day that this is pretty big-time,” she explained. “I’m in a place I never thought I’d reach. You want to play Division I hockey; you get that dream. You want to be able to coach in college; get that dream. But to have a national-level involvement in the sport… it’s been a whirlwind and it’s crazy to think about it in those terms.”

Let her journey through the highest levels of field hockey begin.