COLUMBUS (WCMH) — There are two things in Lynsey Wallace’s life that have been consistent: family and discipline.
Family is how Lynsey got into hockey: her dad, older brother and older sister played, and so she followed their strides.
“I started playing when I was about three years old,” she explained. “I was a player for the first few years, and then I went through a little phase where I wanted to do everything my sister did. So, she became a goalie and I said, ‘Oh! I want to do that!’”
It turns out that Lynsey’s discipline for defense isn’t limited to the ice. She has always had ambitions of dedicating her life to military service – just like her grandfathers, older sister and older brother.
“When I was growing up everyone was always like, ‘Oh, she’s the fighter out of the three of us, like out of my siblings,” Lynsey said. “So it was always kind in the back of my mind.”
As she grew up, Lynsey’s discipline for hockey grew as well, meaning she had to put ROTC ambitions on the backburner. There was just something about goaltending that she couldn’t shutout.
“It’s a different mindset,” she said with regards to having a special mentality in the net. “You have to be okay with things coming at you super fast.”
Then life for Lynsey came faster than the hockey offers did. As a senior in high school, she already knew she wanted to pursue a degree in animal science and eventually become a veterinarian. So Lynsey had to make a couple bold decisions: first, she gave up the idea of college hockey, and second, she gave up the idea of attending Michigan like many of her family members.
Instead, Lynsey did an about-face: she chose Ohio State for the animal science program, and to bring ROTC back into her life.
“The Army is the only one who has a vet program — a vet corps,” she said. “I was done with hockey. Things just kept falling through. I didn’t want to go to a Division III school because they didn’t have the program I wanted and at the end of the day I knew I wanted to be a veterinarian.”
Little did Lynsey know: hockey wasn’t done with her. A few months into her freshman year, she got a phone call from her high school coach saying the Ohio State team needed a goalie.
“One of our referees who is a local here told me about a local goalie who is pretty good that he used to ref,” said OSU women’s hockey coach Nadine Muzerall. “I knew that we needed a goalie in that moment. Very rarely do I like listening to referees, but I did this time around!”
“I didn’t even have my gear here!” exclaimed Lynsey, a Shaker Heights, Ohio native. “I had to go home and get my gear and one thing led to another and I was never told to leave! So I stayed! And the rest is history.”
Now, Lynsey is charging ahead at Ohio State with a jam-packed schedule. She wakes up at around 5:30 AM for the ROTC workout, then she heads to her pre-veterinarian classes, follow that up with two hours of hockey practice, hockey strength and conditioning afterwards, and finally, she heads home to study. Lynsey said the only way it all works is a disciplined schedule: she is in bed every night by 10:15.
“I can sleep through anything at this point!” Lynsey said with a laugh. “It’s a very strict schedule I follow.”
“If anyone comes complaining to me about being fatigued, or things get tough, I mean just go ask Wallace how her day is,” Muzerall said with a knowing smile. “I don’t think she knows any different, to be honest with you. Like, if you were to say, ‘Take a day off,’ I don’t think she could take a day off.”
Things don’t slow down for Lynsey in the offseason either. This past summer she completed Army Air Assault training at Fort Campbell in Kentucky, which culminated in her repelling from a Black Hawk helicopter. When she returned to campus for her junior season, Lynsey’s hockey family honored her discipline on Military Appreciation Night. Naturally, she made them proud getting the start at goalie and notching 23 saves and earning a shootout win.
“She’s just that type of person where it’s a true patriot and just humble and it was very special,” added Muzerall. “She was just very grateful to wear the jersey and pull it over her head every weekend, and now that she’s got a taste of that she’s like okay I want a little bit more, I want a little bit more. That’s just, her attitude is the sky is the limit.”
“Don’t give up on that dream,” Lynsey insisted. “If the opportunity presents itself like take advantage of it. Whether it be hockey, sports, school, anything: take advantage of every opportunity you can.”