Hockey Talk

Mental Toughness with Alex Rigsby

Alex Rigsby_goal tender, ice hockey, Calgary Inferno, Team USA
Alex Rigsby

Calgary Inferno and Team USA Goal Tender Alex Rigsby demonstrates why mental toughness and goalies make a great couple with her consistence defense and Coach Shannon Miller explains what is takes

Hockey Talk, hosted by Shannon Miller, is sponsored by IN STAT.

Podcast length: 31′ 42″

Mental toughness, resilience and confidence are essential requirements for success in sport and in ice hockey Coach Shannon Miller explains why as she talks to Calgary Inferno goal tender Olympian Alex Rigsby. Alex shares her highs and lows and why the emphasis on her game has always been her mental toughness and focus. Alex is fresh off winning the Four Nations Cup two weeks ago, and this past weekend sealing a double header against Les Montreal Canadians in Calgary to gain the #1 ranking in the CWHL.  This week’s Drill of the Week is a Goal Tending drill which will be posted on Shannon’s Facebook page @coachshannonmiller.


The Drill of the Week is on Shannon’s Facebook page @coachshannonmiller 

Shannon’s website

Shannon on Twitter  |  Instagram

Alex on Twitter | Instagram

Calgary Inferno on   Facebook  |   Twitter 

Calgary Inferno website

LISTEN TO MORE EPISODES HERE or look for the HOCKEY TALK logo on WiSP Sports wherever you listen to podcasts.



Goaltending, Mental Toughness and Resiliency.

My guest this week is Team USA starting goalie, Alex Rigsby.

Today’s Side Bar will be ….

This weeks drill of the week is a Goal Tending drill– the drill of the week will be posted on my FB page @coachshannonmiller, on Thursday.

Thank you for joining me, I’m honored to have my own hockey podcast show on WiSP Sports, and to be part of the most popular and influential podcast organization for women in sports globally.

When we rely on the male oriented definition of toughness – which is predominately physical – it’s like looking through a straw. It’s zeroing in on one aspect of  toughness when there is so much more to it than that.

We need to go beyond the idea of “physicality” for toughness.

Mental toughness is gender neutral.

Resilience = bounce back when you encounter set backs and failures.

Confidence = spot and seize the opportunity.

Based on research and my own experiences – women are more resilient and men are more confident.

Elite athletes require complete mental toughness – the confidence and the resilience – and as I’ve already stated – MT is gender neutral.

Coaches, we must breathe “belief” into our athletes when they may have doubt.

We must breathe courage into them when they may feel fear.

Breathe life into their competitive lungs when they need it to compete.

Help provide them with the will to win, boost their spirit, anticipate what they need and give it to them

Resilient – Relentless – Refusal to lose.

FW – go to the net like Javelins. This is what goaltenders are up against.

Requires physical toughness and mental toughness over and over again throughout the game. Mental toughness is a goal tenders best friend.

Their next best friend are their DEF.

DEF – windmills – no one can get through – and if they do – they can’t stay for long!

Bumper car style of play – crash and bang – all happening in front of the goalie – chaos – and they must find the puck and make the save!

Amazing laser focus – amazing athletes.

Side Bar – Saying “ The legs feed the wolf. “ Coaches breathe the life, the lungs, the legs, the confidence, the will to win…..breathe courage and confidence into them! They need you!

Today’s guest is Alex Rigsby – starting goal tender for Team USA, fresh off winning the Four Nations Cup 2 weeks ago, and fresh off a pair of wins versus Les Montreal Canadians, here in Calgary to gain the #1 ranking in the CWHL.

Alex Rigsby, ice hockey, Team USA, Calgary Inferno, Goal TenderALEXA RIGSBY BIO

Alex Rigsby (born January 3, 1992) is an American ice hockey player and has competed for the United States women’s national ice hockey team in numerous tournaments. She is the first goaltender in USA Hockey history to have competed with the US National Under-18, Under-22, and Senior women’s teams.[2] She competed for the Wisconsin Badgers women’s ice hockey program 2010–2014, and is currently on the roster of the Minnesota Whitecaps.

Playing career

Rigsby played boys hockey from the age of six, including AAA boys hockey from the age of 10. As a freshman in high school, she played for the Chicago Mission AAA Boys Bantam Majors. That team won state and regional champions and participated in the USA Hockey National Championships. In addition to hockey, Rigsby also played varsity girls lacrosse for Arrowhead Head School, in which she won two state titles in 2007 and 2008

Alex Rigsby became the first woman ever to be drafted in the United States Hockey League, when she was selected in the 16th round, 199th overall by the Chicago Steel. Of note, the Steel also drafted Jake Chelios, son of Red Wings defenceman Chris Chelios in the 4th round, 49th overall and David Bondra, son of sniper Peter Bondra in the 7th round, 82nd overall. Rigsby played the previous two seasons with the Milwaukee Admirals Midget Minor boys team.


  • December 10–11, 2010: On December 10, Alex Rigsby earned her third collegiate shutout in a conference road victory at St. Cloud State. She improved her won-loss record to 11–1–0. At 11–1–0, Rigsby’s .917 winning percentage tops the WCHA and is fourth in the nation. She also ranks third in the WCHA with a 1.86 goals-against average and is fifth in the league with a .919 save percentage.
  • At the midway point of her rookie season, she played in 10 games with an 8–1–0 record. Statistically, she has made 194 total saves and allowed 18 goals for a .915 save percentage and a 1.93 goals against average. In her collegiate debut, she earned her first career shutout (a 6–0 win over RPI on October 2). On October 8, Rigsby earned her first WCHA victory with a 7–1 victory over Bemidji State. She made a season-high 37 saves in a 3–2 overtime win against Minnesota Duluth on November 26.
  • January 28–29, 2011: Alex Rigsby made a combined 50 saves and allowed three goals as the top-ranked Badgers earned a tie and victory against Minnesota. She 23 saves on January 28 in a 2–2 overtime tie. The following day, she made 27 saves while earning her 17th victory of the season. The match was played before a women’s college hockey record crowd of 10,668. Over the two game period, she had a .943 saves percentage and had four shutout periods, including the one 5:00 overtime segment. She is now unbeaten in her last 11 games and her .900 winning percentage leads the WCHA. Her 1.95 GAA is first in the WCHA.
  • March 12, 2011: In her first appearance in the NCAA Tournament, Rigsby made 29 saves against the defending NCAA champion Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs. With the victory, Rigsby improved her record to 25–1–2.
  • Rigsby played in the championship game of the 2011 NCAA Women’s Division I Ice hockey Tournament and made 15 saves to help the Badgers win their fourth Frozen Four title in six years. She finished her rookie season with a record of 27–1–1.
  • Rigsby graduated from the Badgers as the program’s all-time leader in wins with 100, minutes played with 7,881:09 and saves with 3,126. Of note, her .941 save percentage is tied for first in program history. A 3–1 victory over Bemidji State helped Rigsby surpass Jessie Vetter for the Badgers mark in career wins.

Team USA

She participated in the 2009 IIHF Under 18 Women’s World Championship and won a gold medal. Statistically, she had a .947 saves percentage with a 1.28 goals against average. In addition, she participated in the 2008 and 2009 USA Hockey Women’s National Festival. From 2006–09, she participated in USA Hockey National Development Camps.

Awards and honors

  • Directorate Award, Best Goaltender, 2009 IIHF Under 18 Women’s World Championships
  • Directorate Award, Best Goaltender, 2010 IIHF Under 18 Women’s World Championships[9]
  • Runner-up: 2010 WCHA Pre-Season Rookie of the Year[10]
  • WCHA Defensive Player of the Week (Week of December 15, 2010) [6]
  • WCHA Rookie of the Week (Week of February 2, 2011)[11]
  • 2011 NCAA Frozen Four All-Tournament Team[8]
  • WCHA Defensive Player of the Week, (Week of October 18, 2011)[12]
  • WCHA Defensive Player of the Week (Week of October 25, 2011)[13]
  • WCHA Defensive Player of the Week (Week of February 1, 2012)[14]
  • 2012–13 Second Team All-America selection[15]
  • 2014 Wisconsin Badgers Female Athlete of the Year[16]
  • 2014 AHCA first-team All-American
  • 2014 WCHA Scholar-Athlete
  • 2014 All-WCHA Academic team
  • 2014 first-team All-WCHA
  • 2014 All-USCHO first team.

Drafted 2018, 4 #22 overall by Calgary Inferno in the CWHL Draft

Drafted 2009, 16 #199 overall by Chicago Steel in the USHL Entry Draft

– First female ever drafted into the USHL.
– won gold in the 2009 IIHF U18 Women’s World Championship while playing with the U18 Women’s National Team as the top goaltender … had a .947 saves percentage with a 1.28 goals against average
– posted a 27-1-2 record in 2010-11, with a 1.76 GAA and 0.921 SVCPT for the University of Wisconsin’s women’s team


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