People in your neighborhood: Josie Skoogman

By Sarah CR Clark

Sixteen-year old Josie Skoogman is, as we say in Minnesota, “kind of a big deal.”

And she’s just getting started.

A junior at Hill-Murray High School, Skoogman helped lead the girls varsity hockey team to a second-place finish in the Minnesota Class AA State Tournament at the end of February.

Skoogman was named to the 2024 AA All-Tournament Team and the All-State Team, recognition for being one of the top four defenders in girls’ hockey in Minnesota. She has committed to playing Division 1 hockey for Cornell University after she graduates from high school.

Skoogman, who lives in St. Anthony Park, began playing hockey for Langford Park when she was six years old.

“Josie represents all you can hope for from a player,” said Dan Anderson, Skoogman’s first coach and neighbor. “She loves the game, works hard, and always has an eye for how to set up and support her teammates.

“She really is a special player, easily one of the best skaters I’ve ever been around,” Anderson added. “It’s wonderful to see how all her effort and dedication are continuing to open doors for her.”

Skoogman lives with her parents, Andy and Allanna, and three sisters. “(But) my support system goes past my immediate family,” she said, noting her aunt, uncle, cousins and grandparents—all of whom live in her neighborhood—“attend almost every one of my hockey games.”

When Skoogman isn’t on the ice, she likes to spend time with her friends and family. In school her favorite class is English. And she plays other sports too.

“I also play tennis and golf for Hill-Murray, so that keeps me busy in the fall and spring,” Josie said.

During the hockey season, Skoogman spends about eight hours a week on the ice practicing and playing games. During the summer she spends half that time on the ice. She plays defense for the Hill-Murray Pioneers, a team of 18 girls.

One of Josie’s Hill-Murray coaches, former NHL player John Pohl, reported it’s “very, very easy to coach” her. “She wants to succeed. She’s a coach’s dream.”

Skoogman recalled her favorite memory from the 2023-2024 season:

“We lost back-to-back section final games the last two seasons, when I was a freshman and a sophomore. The winner of the section final earns a trip to the State Tournament which is played at the Xcel Energy Center.

“So, as a team, our goal this season was to make it to the section final game and win it. And we did! We beat Stillwater, 5-2.

“The feeling of finally winning the section final game was surreal. I was overjoyed because of all our hard work throughout the season. All that work paid off!”

In a year and a half, Skoogman will head to Cornell University.

“I chose Cornell because of the excellent coaching staff, the character of the players I met, and the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to earn an Ivy League education,” Skoogman said. “It feels like a perfect fit for me as a player and a student.”

Skoogman’s aunt, Regan Golden, recalled the many neighbors who supported Hill-Murray’s team at the 2024 State Tournament.

“Lots of neighbors came to the game,” Golden said. “We joked that we should have gotten a bus to transport all the SAP folks!”

Skoogman felt that support.

“I will be headed to college in New York next year but SAP will always be home to me,” Josie said. “It’s where my dream of playing Division 1 hockey began. I can’t thank my family and friends from the neighborhood enough for all their support so far on my journey.”  

Sarah CR Clark lives in St. Anthony Park and is a regular freelance writer for the Bugle.

Photo cutline: Josie Skoogman is an All-State girls hockey player from Hill-Murray High School. Photo by Regan Golden.

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