Former Red Wing girls' hockey standout Paige Haley knew she wanted to stay involved in the game. She wanted to be a teacher in the classroom and one on the ice, too.
"I've been involved in hockey my whole life," Haley said. "I'm a futuristic thinker. I knew while in college, I wanted to stay involved. I felt like I had a taste of what it takes to run a high-level hockey program."
Haley was named as the new Northfield girls' hockey head coach. The announcement was made April 23 via Athletic Director Joel Olson on Twitter.
Haley, an assistant girls' hockey coach at Northfield for the past two years, replaces Brent Bielenberg, who coached the Raiders for 19 years before stepping down in March.
A 2013 Red Wing graduate, Haley was a four-time All-State hockey player with the Wingers. She scored 262 career points and was a Ms. Hockey Finalist in 2013.
Not far removed from her playing career, Haley said she thinks there are advantages to having recently played, like being able to physically show and help players in practice.
Haley said she could have attempted to start a coaching career in the Twin Cities, but felt like "home" was a better fit.
"I felt like it was important to develop hockey in the south," Haley said.
While playing for the Wingers, her father, Scott, was the head coach.
"Having seen the impact my dad had on Red Wing and what he did for that program, I admired what he did," Haley said.
During her two years as an assistant, Haley was on the bench opposite of her dad when Northfield played Red Wing.
"It was a weird feeling," Haley said. "(Northfield) beat (Red Wing) in their home rink, then they came and beat us in ours. It didn't divide the house, but it was certainly weird."
Haley said she always consulted her dad when it came to a hockey. Whether it's something she wanted help with while an assistant coach or as collegiate player, she would get help from him. When given the opportunity to take the role of head coach, again she went to her dad and the rest of her family.
Her younger sister Reagan, also a former Winger and 2015 Ms. Hockey semifinalist, plays hockey for the University of Minnesota Duluth.
Her family all reached the same consensus.
"They think it's what I should be doing," Haley said.
Haley played four years with the University of Minnesota women's team and was part of back-to-back national championships in 2015 and 2016.
"I was a part of high level programs," Haley said. "I always carry that with me. Because of that, I have high expectations, and realistic ones too."