The list of professional athletes from Great Falls is short. Names like Josh Huestis, Dave
Dickenson and Patrick Dwyer come to mind… but there was one recent signing you might
not have heard of… and if Celeste Brown has her way – you’ll know her name and the
league she plays in sooner rather than later. Tom Wiley explains.
Reporter>>Great Falls native Celeste Brown was bitten by the hockey bug at a very early
age. Celeste>>The story I tell most is that I
got a pair of roller-blades for my 5th birthday and I just remember my dad asking me if I
wanted to play. Hockey takes you to places where you wouldn’t have gone without it, so
that is probably the most memorable thing to me.
Reporter>>Indeed the sport has led Brown through many twists and turns. She left her
home in Great Falls at age 16 to chase her dream of playing college hockey. [Announcer>>Celeste Brown on the set-up from Kourtney Kunichika!] Reporter>>She won a national championship in her freshman year at the Rochester Institute
of Technology. And most recently, she became the first female hockey player from Montana
to sign a professional contract. Celeste>>For me I personally dedicated my
life a lot to this. So to just stop [would be] a pretty scary thought in my mind. So
I was like – okay this is the next step. This is what I want to do.
Reporter>>Brown signed with the NY Riveters of the newly formed National Women’s Hockey
League in June… but what is more impressive, is how she earned her contract. The NWHL consists
of four teams in the Northeast part of the United States. Each held an open try-out and
Brown went to all four of them. Even making an 8 hour round trip from Boston to Long Island
twice in one weekend. Celeste>>One of the try-outs I remember…
I was like mentally drained… and one of my sisters said: You know… you can do anything
for 48 hours.” So, I kept that in mind and by the end of the weekend I made it through.
Reporter>>Growing up in Great Falls opportunities to play hockey were few and far between – in
fact when Celeste visits her home town in the summer… there is no ice to skate on.
So she trains in the pool. But that never stopped her from achieving her dream. And
she hopes it won’t stop other future hockey players from chasing theirs.
Celeste>>I’m just happy that, you know, I can help pave the way for future kids… future
young girls that want to keep playing. That’s overall the main goal. I think that is the
main goal for every player in the league. For every female player that keeps playing.
Reporter>>Tom Wiley, MTN Sports.