So it turns out Amanda Leveille has a bit of a habit. Yeah, let’s call it a habit. When she’s not stopping pucks or teaching others how to do it, Leveille likes to get suited up in all of her goaltending equipment, then take pictures of herself in various places and post them on social media. In fact, she describes herself like this in her Twitter bio: “The not crazy goaltender for the Minnesota Whitecaps who travels to exotic places in goalie gear to get retweets and likes…I mean laughs.” She describes herself on Instagram as having, “a PhD in goaltending and a minor in comedy.”
Just prior to the National Women’s Hockey League playoffs in 2017, Leveille and the other goalies for the Buffalo Beauts posed with their goalie gear in front of a Victoria’s Secret store, which was accompanied with the caption: “In case you were wondering (what) our cup size is, Isobel.” Then, after winning the Isobel Cup with the Whitecaps in 2019, she posed in full goalie gear with the trophy in front of a Winners store. Winners? Get it?
To be fair, though, Leveille knows a little about winning, since she’s been doing almost nothing but that for the better part of the past decade. It certainly does seem to follow her around. Starting with the 2013-14 season with the University of Minnesota, Leveille won three national titles in four years with the Golden Gophers, losing in the NCAA championship game in her sophomore year. She won her first Isobel Cup in her first season with Buffalo in 2016-17, then made it to the championship game the next season. She won the Isobel again with the Whitecaps in 2019 and backstopped her team to the NWL championship game against the Boston Pride in 2020, a game that was cancelled because the COVID-19 pandemic.
And when the Whitecaps begin their quest for another Isobel Cup, starting with a triple-header today in the league’s bubble in Lake Placid, Leveille will undoubtedly once again figure to be a significant factor. After 10 months with no hockey, the NWHL will hold a sprint in the form of a 13-day tournament to determine this year’s champion. Starting today, when the Whitecaps jump right into the fire with a game against the Pride, Leveille and her team hope to be playing nine games in the next 13 days, because that will mean they’ve made the final once again.
“This is a unique opportunity and we’re really grateful to everyone who set this up for us,” Leveille said. “We’ve been waiting all year for this. We didn’t know whether it would happen for sure. Everyone kept telling us that we were going to play, but we also were told last year that we were going to play the Isobel Cup and that didn’t happen.”
It would have been interesting to find out whether or not the Whitecaps would have defended their title from 2019 last season. To be sure, they were up against a juggernaut team from Boston that had only suffered one loss all season. But that loss was to Leveille’s Whitecaps. You could argue that the Pride team that lost only one game last season is even stronger this season, with the addition of first overall pick Sammy Davis. But the Whitecaps figure to have something to say about that. Goaltending could be a difference maker in a truncated tournament like this one and there is little doubt Leveille has the pedigree to have an enormous impact.
Leveille was not able to leave for the bubble with her teammates and had to fly out to Lake Placid Thursday night because she had to tend to her day job, which is goaltending director at Os Hockey Training, a high performance hockey academy in Roseville, Minn., geared specifically toward female players. Leveille’s teammate, Winny Brodt-Brown owns the academy. Leveille, a 26-year-old native of Kingston, Ont., returned to Minnesota to work at the academy and has put down roots there with her Minnesota-born husband. She has to work another job to supplement her NWHL income, but the best part of that is her job involves hockey as well. She also does some goalie coaching at the high school level and gives private lessons. “I’m pretty much on the ice all day,” Leveille said. “I really can’t complain. Not many people can say they spend all day at the rink.”
As far as the photos are concerned, Leveille started doing it to help take the edge off with her teammates and to help her deal with the isolation of the position. It’s also just part of her outgoing nature.
“As a goalie, you sometimes feel like you’re kind of on an island,” she said. “When you get scored on, everyone is looking at you and your teammates feed off your energy. I think when you have a not-so-great game and you come to practice and you’re upbeat, it goes a long way toward showing your team that you’re there and they can trust you in the net.”
Amanda Leveille is counting on being there over the next two weeks and justifying the trust the Whitecaps have in her. And if things work out, there will be an opportunity for another goofy picture with all her gear on.