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The Drill: For Bailey Kruse, bruises are just a part of the fun of hockey

Bailey Kruse, decked with the tools of her trade, poses during a break in Worthington High School girls hockey practice. (Tim Middagh/The Globe)

WORTHINGTON -- Bailey Kruse is a tough kid. She hunts, she fishes, she plays rough sports.

She’s a hockey player for the Worthington Trojans, and she’s the goalkeeper besides. Years of action in the net has taken a toll physically, but she keeps coming back year after year because of, she freely admits, “the love of the game.”

The senior goalie has been involved in hockey for 12 years. She saw a sign-up sheet one day in school, “and I just decided that’s what I’m gonna do.”

Being a member of the Worthington Trojans girls hockey team has had its own set of challenges. Bailey and her WHS teammates have had to withstand a string of losing seasons in a program that started at the bottom and is now trying to work itself up. In three years as the Trojans’ starting goalkeeper, Kruse has yet to win a game. What’s more, because of the team’s difficulties at competing generally, she’s had to take more than her share of shots on goal.

She’s weathered them well. She’s regarded as one of the better goalies in the area. Her toughness, her resiliency, and her sheer athleticism has made fans and rivals alike sit up and take notice.

The Globe wanted to get the inside hockey story from Bailey, so we interviewed her recently for The Drill. You can find the video online at www.dglobe.com. Here is a sample of Bailey’s answers to questions about life in the pads:

QUESTION: Why hockey?

ANSWER: “I’ve always liked contact sports. I’ve played football before, and I always liked to be with the boys. (Hockey) is just a sport that there’s nothing I don’t like about it.”

Q: But what’s so fun about playing goalie and getting pucks shot at you all the time?

A: “Playing goalie is fun, and it’s not fun in the same way. It takes a special person to be a goalie and get the puck shot at ‘em all the time. For some reason, I find enjoyment in that. One thing is, if you get hit in the head a lot of goalies complain about it, and I think it’s the greatest thing ever. … I guess there’s not too much I don’t like about playing goalie.”

Q: There must be quite a physical toll when you have to take on so many shots during a game, and a season. Are you sore and exhausted at the end of a season?

A: “Playing goalie, it’s hard on your body, dropping down to your knees all the time. It’s hard on your knees. I’ve had problems with both of my knees, I’ve had problems with my shoulder and my back, and knocked two ribs out of place running into net. I pushed through it for the love of the game.”

Doug Wolter

Doug Wolter is the Daily Globe sports editor. He served as sports reporter, then sports editor, news editor and finally managing editor at the Daily Globe for 22 years before leaving for seven years to work as night news editor at the Mankato Free Press in Mankato. Doug now lives in Worthington with his wife, Sandy. They have three children and seven grandchildren. Doug, retired after a lengthy career in fast-pitch softball, enjoys reading, strumming his acoustic guitar and hanging around his grandchildren. He also writes books on fiction. Two of his stories, "The Genuine One" and "The Old Man in Section 129" have been distributed through a national publisher.

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