Lindsey Ellis Part One: The Vision for ASU Women’s Hockey

“CLAW”-ing her way to success: Lindsey Ellis talks building a team from scratch while writing a dissertation and growing Arizona hockey

Lindsey Ellis Part One: The Vision for ASU Women’s Hockey
Source: Arizona State University's X/Twitter (@WomensHockeyASU)

Lindsey Ellis created the opportunity she was not afforded: an elite collegiate hockey team in her home state of Arizona. Right after graduating from University of Miami (Ohio) in 2015, Ellis established a women’s club hockey team at Arizona State University (ASU) with a single objective in mind. “We still have the same type of outlook from the beginning, our goal is to win a national title,” Ellis told The Ice Garden. “It’s building a culture that girls want to be here. Girls know our goal, that it’s a feasible goal, and it’s something that we will reach.”

Despite the absence of university support, the Sun Devils evolved from 12 skaters to fully rostered national contenders in the top women’s division in the ACHA. While they haven’t reached the ultimate victory yet, her time as a Miami Redhawk and academic journey instilled in Ellis the dedication and character it will take to be a championship program at ASU. 

Ellis left Arizona in 2010 to join the RedHawks for their inaugural season. In their second season, the RedHawks received membership to the CCWHA (Central Collegiate Women’s Hockey Association), which was the toughest conference in the league at the time. They saw steady improvement over the next two seasons but cemented the program in the history books when their storybook run began in September 2013. In a single season, the RedHawks maintained a season-long coaches poll and computer number one ranking that earned them the regular season title. They carried that momentum through their first conference championship and were crowned national champions to complete the season sweep. Although Ellis graduated the following year, the RedHawks continued their reign in the ACHA for several seasons with cup wins in 2016 and 2017. 

That magical year is far behind her but Ellis, now 30, never forgets the bond with her teammates, willpower, and gritty determination that made the program three-time national champions. She infused those ingredients with her academic prowess into one acronym, CLAW, which forms the essence of ASU women’s club hockey. CLAW stands for Commitment, Leadership, Accountability, and Work Ethic and Ellis attributes much of her team's success to authentically buying into these values. Ellis herself exemplifies each letter and ensures CLAW is imbued into her players as the university prohibits them from putting it on their walls. 

Lindsey Ellis (3rd row, assistant captain, celebrating a National Championship win with the Miami Red Hawks in 2014)