The first female Cloquet-Esko-Carlton hockey player to play professionally now has her own place at Northwoods Credit Union Arena.

Sadie Lundquist, 27, plays for the National Women's Hockey League's Minnesota Whitecaps, based in the Twin Cities. A banner with her name was hung Thursday, Jan. 24, in the arena's rafters next to other professional players from the program.

Lundquist said she's enjoying her time in the professional league.

"It's fun," Lundquist said with a smile. "It's also a lot of work. As a person, I identify as a hockey player. Now, as a pro player, I have my identity back."

She dropped the ceremonial puck before the girls high school hockey game against Grand Rapids, then signed autographs. One of her favorite parts of playing pro hockey is seeing all of the little girls running around like she did at that age.

"I know that was me as a little kid," Lundquist said. "So, to be able to give back and see all of the little me's running around and probably being a little more obnoxious than they should be is absolutely the best part."

Her high school hockey coach, Richard Bartholdi, was known for running tough practices and strong work ethic. He currently coaches CEC girls U12.

"I don't get yelled at as much now," Lundquist said with a laugh. "I don't think I appreciated him as much then as I do now, but he taught the game through and through and definitely laid the foundation for the player I could become."