College Hockey Champion, Olympian to be Enshrined in Little League Hall of Excellence
As a 12-year-old catcher for American Little League from Brooklyn Park, Minn., Ms. Wendell showed an elite level of sportsmanship and competitiveness that would help her team reach Williamsport in 1994, and in the years to come, lead her to the Olympics.
“When I found out I was going to be inducted, the first thing I thought is, ‘I can’t believe it’s been 10 years since I was in the World Series,’” said Ms. Wendell. “Going into the Hall of Excellence is such an honor because of all the important people in there. I’ll appreciate it more the older I get, but it’s really special for my dad because he coached us in the World Series.”
The Central Region champions, coached by Larry Wendell, finished 1-2 in the World Series and that would be the last baseball Ms. Wendell would play as she turned her athletic ambitions toward ice hockey. After graduating from Center Park High School in 2000, where she was a member of the Minnesota state championship hockey team, Ms. Wendell enrolled at the University of Minnesota.
Ms. Wendell has played for her country as a member of the U.S. Women’s Olympic Hockey team that won the silver medal at the 2002 Salt Lake City winter games, and earlier this year, the two-time All-American was named most outstanding player of the NCAA tournament as the Minnesota Golden Gophers won the school’s first women’s hockey national championship.
“I compare playing in the Little League World Series to playing in the Olympics because you are representing so many people, and doing something that so many people look forward to,” said Ms. Wendell. “I remember in Brooklyn Park, Little League was all about the community. It was so cool because there were always games going on and we all felt so connected.”
“Krissy has been considered a positive presence on and off the playing field, and she has grown up playing several sports, excelling at them all,” said Stephen D. Keener, president and chief executive officer of Little League Baseball and Softball. “In 1994, Krissy was the starting catcher, and the only girl on the Brooklyn Park team that played in the Little League World Series. From there, she has shown similar tenacity in her other pursuits. For these reasons, as well as her character and commitment to doing her best, we are proud to enshrine her in the Hall of Excellence.”
The enshrinement ceremony will take place before the world championship game, scheduled for 6:30 p.m. on Aug. 29. Ms. Wendell will join police detective Nancy dosReis, and professional golfer Cathy Gerring as the first women to be so honored.
Established in 1988, enshrinement in the Peter J. McGovern Little League Museum Hall of Excellence is conducted annually for a Little League graduate (or graduates) who have demonstrated a commitment to excellence in their chosen profession and exemplify the values learned as children in Little League Baseball or Softball. Enshrinees are selected through a defined voting system by the Peter J. McGovern Little League Museum Advisory Board.
Mr. McGovern saw the need for a physical structure to tell the story of Little League. To that end, he spearheaded the development of the Little League Museum. Opened during the 1982 Little League World Series, the museum is located on the Little League International complex. It was renamed in Mr. McGovern’s honor upon his retirement in 1983.
Little League Baseball and Softball is the world’s largest organized youth sports program, with nearly 2.7 million players and 1 million adult volunteers in every U.S. state and scores of other countries.