- Associated Press - Saturday, February 1, 2014

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - When Jill Ramsey first saw her oldest daughter, Rachel, suited up in hockey gear, she cried.

Jill Ramsey is a former dancer. Her husband, Mike Ramsey, was a member of the 1980 U.S. Olympic team and a former NHL player.

The Ramseys let their three children choose their own paths - two chose hockey, one chose dance.

Rachel took after her father, despite the lack of opportunities for girls in hockey at the time.

“I imagined both girls would probably be in dance or other sports, but not hockey,” Jill told the Minnesota Daily (http://bit.ly/1ftrjc8). “But literally within six months of (Rachel) actually playing, I just knew it was her passion, and I’ve been her biggest fan ever since.”

Rachel is now a junior defenseman for the University of Minnesota’s back-to-back national champion women’s team, and she is a key piece of the Gophers’ defensive corps like her dad once was.

Her younger brother, Jack, currently plays for the Penticton Vees in British Columbia and signed a National Letter of Intent in November to play for the Gophers men’s team.

When he hits the ice with the maroon and gold on his chest, he will be the third person in his immediate family to do so.

Hannah, the family’s middle child, is a sophomore at the University of St. Thomas. She had the option to play hockey as well but instead decided to dance competitively.

Still, hockey is ever-present in the Ramsey family. Hannah said that between carpools, picking up her siblings and going to their games, she felt like she spent about as much time at the rink as they did.

“It’s definitely a family thing whether you’re on the team or not,” she said.

Rachel started her hockey career in upstate New York, where Mike Ramsey was an assistant coach with the Buffalo Sabres. The family moved to Minnesota after her father took a job as an assistant coach with the Minnesota Wild.

While girls’ youth hockey in the late 1990s wasn’t as popular as it is today, Rachel had the unique opportunity to grow up skating at the Xcel Energy Center.

Rachel said it was just her and Jack skating at the Xcel for the most part, but Hannah would also occasionally come and swing her stick around at her brother and sister.

The siblings had the opportunity to learn the ins and outs of the game from NHL players and coaches. But there was one coach whose advice they didn’t always seek out - their father.

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