Record-holding goaltender Lovisa Selander talks childhood, goals

Lovisa Selander—a senior studying Chemical Engineering, and captain and goaltender for RPI’s women’s Ice Hockey team—has recently broken the record for women’s hockey NCAA Division I career saves, with a total of over 3,800 for her collegiate career. I interviewed her to find out more about her journey and what it was like breaking this record.

GALI: You’re originally from Sweden, what made you come to an American college to play hockey and pursue a bachelor’s degree?

SELANDER: At home we don’t have school sports, so it’s hard to play hockey and get an engineering degree. My older brother went to school in Iowa—he played golf at Mount Mercy University—and really enjoyed his experience. So it was something that I also wanted to try.

GALI: When you went into the match against Harvard University, did you know you were about to break a record?

SELANDER: Yeah, there was a lot of attention around it and I kind of heard about the buzz and saw the countdown. But it wasn’t something I was really focusing on, I just wanted to stop some pucks and play a good game. But as it was getting closer and closer I could see a lot of old alumni behind the net and it was a lot of fun seeing them there. It wasn’t a part of my focus for the season, but it was a cool record to break.

GALI: What did it feel like when you broke this record? How long did it take for the realization to sink in?

SELANDER: I don’t really think it’s sunken in yet. I think that’s something that’ll happen when I quit hockey and look back on my career. But for now, I think the next game and how we play is so much more important than getting a record.

GALI: Still, you are pretty famous. And you’ve also been named as a Top ten finalist for the Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award, and could possibly be named the best player in the NCAA Division I Women’s Ice Hockey this year. How does that feel?

SELANDER: I think it’s always nice to get the recognition but that’s not what you do it for. I think it’s huge for us as a team and for us as a program that this is getting a lot of attention now, but I don’t really thrive on personal attention: I just do it for the team and for my teammates and coaches.

GALI: As a child, when did you first realize that you had a love for this sport?

SELANDER: I was really young actually. My older brothers, Jacob and Oscar, started playing hockey and I think I immediately got pretty jealous. I got to start practicing with Oscar, and then just quickly fell in love with the sport. I think I’ve been a goalie since I was five or six years old and it came very naturally for me to just end up in this sport.

GALI: What was your worst moment when playing hockey? In those moments did you ever imagine the position you’d be in today?

SELANDER: I mean, as a goalie you’ve [sic] definitely had some hard bounces and tough games. As a kid, you let in some stupid goals and even now in college, just a few games ago, I messed up and the puck ended up in our goal. So you’ve [sic] just got to let those moments go. It was just a dream of mine, ever since I was a kid, to be the best goalie I could possibly be. My family is very competitive and loves sports, and their support helped me push past the hard times.

GALI: Who or what was your biggest inspiration?

SELANDER: My biggest inspiration was definitely the 2006 Olympics when Sweden won gold for Men’s Ice Hockey and silver for the Women’s. Henrik Lundqvist and Kim Martin [Hasson] were my biggest idols growing up; they were the best goalie’s I knew. Having goalie’s like that to look up to was amazing as a little kid. And now to step into their shoes—I mean I got to play for the [Swedish] national team—and getting up to that level has been so incredible.

GALI: On the subject of playing for Sweden’s national team, how did it feel to first get the news that you were going to be playing for them?

SELANDER: It was really amazing, a dream come true. To get to take that step into international hockey was so incredible. Getting to play against Canada in Canada was just the most fun ever, and even though we didn’t win the game, it was so much fun to get to wear that jersey on my back.

GALI: You major in Chemical Engineering and have a stellar GPA that’s far above the average at RPI. How do you do it?

SELANDER: For me, I was given this incredible opportunity to come here on a full scholarship, and after getting that support, I think it’s the least I can do to give my absolute best in both hockey and school. Having the structure of hockey in school also has helped me, because I have to be very structured and plan ahead for meetings and when I have time to study. My classmates have been so helpful when I need it, and my lab groups understand when I can’t make some of the meetings or we have to reschedule things due to hockey. I just want to give back to the opportunity I was given.

GALI: What advice would you give to an average RPI student who struggles with time management?

SELANDER: I think the most important thing for me is to have my planner and know when the due dates are so I can plan ahead. So if something’s due on Thursday, I’ll probably want to do it by Tuesday in case I get into trouble. A huge thing for me this year has been trying to get eight hours of sleep every night. Going to bed at ten and waking up at eight, getting on a schedule that works for your body, and making sure you eat and sleep right is so important for your brain.

GALI: Do you feel any different after breaking this record? Do other people treat you differently?

SELANDER: There’s definitely been a lot of interviews and some media attention that’s been a bit different for me since I’m usually pretty shy. It wasn’t my goal for this season, so it hasn’t affected me too much, and my friends and family make sure I stay grounded.

GALI: What do you see for yourself in the future, professional ice hockey? And what’s the next milestone you want to achieve?

SELANDER: I got drafted to play in Boston, so now I’m trying to apply to jobs in Boston and do both engineering and play professionally for at least a couple more years. My biggest dream is to go to the Olympics. My plan for now is three more years of hockey, and I’ll see where it leads me.