A pickup truck with Oklahoma license plates may seem out of place on the snowy roads of Plattsburgh, but that’s just part of the story of Plattsburgh State senior defenseman Maci Hoskins.

Hoskins began to play hockey when she was 4 years old. She attended a game of the CHL’s Oklahoma City Blazers, where young children were allowed on the ice during intermissions. It was there that she fell in love with the sport.

“My parents said when I was little I would just sit there and stare, watching the game,” Hoskins said. “While all the other kids were running around and playing, I would just be there watching.”

Taught to skate and play by former Blazers head coach, and three-time Stanley Cup champion, Mike McEwen, Hoskins was forced to travel to Texas to play organized youth hockey. 

Hoskins got an early taste of championship hockey, winning two youth titles.

“I think I was the only girl out on the ice there,” Hoskins said. “It was fun.”

Hoskins initially played as a center, but when she reached the Bantam level, at about 13 years old, she switched to the defensive role where she currently features.

Her journey to the North Country began at a USAHockey development camp, where she met Andrea Kilbourne-Hill, the head coach at Lake Placid’s Northwood School.

“At that point, I knew if I wanted to play college hockey I was going to have to move somewhere on the East Coast,” Hoskins said.

For a girl from Oklahoma, though, seven North Country winters have been enough. Hoskins said she looks forward to moving back to the warmer winters of Oklahoma. 

One of the biggest things Hoskins has missed about home is the time she spent hunting with her father, which she now gets to do only once per year. 

“I think I was five when I got my first rifle,” Hoskins said. “I’ve been hunting for a long time with my dad.”

Hoskins said her father has been a major role model for her. After college, she plans to follow in his footsteps.

Mike Hoskins, Maci’s father, retired after 31 years of service with the Oklahoma City Police Department. His daughter hopes to start in the Academy this September.

“He sets an example for me and also sets a bar for me,” Maci Hoskins said. “I always tell him, ‘One day, I’m going to outrank you.’”

Maci Hoskins said she always looked up to the way he was happy to go to work each day. 

As a child, Maci Hoskins could often be found wearing one of her father’s’ uniform shirts and a cowboy hat.

“Ever since I was born, I’ve wanted to be an Oklahoma City Police officer,” Maci Hoskins said.

For his part, Mike Hoskins is proud to see his daughter follow on his career path.

“I’m looking forward to the day I get to pin her badge on her,” Mike Hoskins said.

When asked what would make her a good police officer, Maci Hoskins responded quickly and confidently.

“It’s my willingness to go to work every day wanting to help the community and the relationship between the community and the police,” Maci Hoskins said.

The desire to protect the people of Oklahoma City correlates to her demeanor on the ice, where she is often the one standing up for senior goaltender Kassi Abbott.

Abbott, who has known Maci Hoskins since they met at a development camp at age 14, said she feels safer when she sees that number-six jersey on the ice.

“She’s definitely the type where ‘if you touch Kassi, you’re not going to be on your feet in about two seconds,’” Abbott said.

That physical toughness, which Maci Hoskins attributes to the years she spent playing boys’ hockey, is one of her father’s favorite parts of her game.

“She isn’t afraid to flex her muscle when it needs to be flexed,” Mike Hoskins said.

Abbott and Maci Hoskins are also close friends off the ice. Abbott describes the defenseman as “a tough woman.”

As a senior, Maci Hoskins has taken on a leadership role for the Cardinals, with an A on her jersey signaling her position as assistant captain. 

Maci Hoskins said  she is not the most vocal leader in the locker room, preferring to lead by example.

“It comes with a lot of responsibilities,” Maci Hoskins said. “I know that a lot of people look up to me, so every day it’s motivation to work as hard as I can.”

Maci Hoskins hopes that hard work can help her lead the Cards in the postseason, as she pursues her third national championship in four years.

Regardless of whether she leaves Plattsburgh as a national champion, Maci Hoskins plans to carry forward the lessons in mental toughness, work ethic and communication she has learned from hockey into her future with the Oklahoma City Police Department.

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<a href="http://cardinalpointsonline.com/byline/nathanael-lepage/" rel="tag">Nathanael LePage</a>