BLAINE, Minn — The Herb Brooks Foundation announced that future Wisconsin-Superior Yellowjacket hockey player Cassie McClure is the inaugural recipient of the Mark “Worky” Workman Perseverance and Character Scholarship Award.
This scholarship is awarded to high school or college age students who are actively involved with hockey, and have overcome hardship and persevered through adversity to overcome their obstacles and are looking to continue their higher education and hockey training.
McClure, a recent graduate of Duluth Denfeld High School, will be attending UWS to play hockey and pursue a career as an elementary school teacher.
She played a variety of sports her entire life, but fell in love with hockey at a young age.
At age 14, in the eighth grade, she was diagnosed with chronic Lyme disease and postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS), a condition that affects circulation (blood flow), and was forced to quit all sports, including hockey.
During her time away from playing hockey, she stayed involved as her team manager of the Duluth Northern Stars. She was able to return to hockey in the 10th grade and made her way back to playing at the varsity level and eventually led the Northern Stars in scoring her junior and senior seasons.
In her junior year, she was named team captain, had a team-high 26 points with seven goals and 19 assists, and was able to commit to play college hockey at UWS.
As a senior she had a team-high 20 goals and 23 points and was named to the All-Lake Superior Conference Team and the Duluth News Tribune All-Area Team.
“Cassie will be a tremendous addition to our hockey program,” UWS coach Dan Laughlin said. “Her perseverance on and off the ice exemplifies her character and hard work. Her determination to reach her goals is an asset to any program and we are glad that she will be a Yellowjacket.”
McClure applied for the scholarship to assist her family in meeting her college financial obligations.
“Sometimes I wonder what my life would’ve been like if I would’ve never gotten sick,” McClure said. “However, I wouldn’t trade my experiences with my illnesses for the world. As much as I lost due to my illnesses, I gained so much more. My illness has made me stronger, more resilient, and has given me a new perspective on life. It has opened my eyes to what is really important, such as family, living in the moment, and to rely on my faith when things get hard.”
McClure believes in investing in the next generation as a teacher and a hockey coach.
“The selflessness of my role models and mentors has shaped me into the person I am today,” McClure said. “That is my goal, to dedicate myself to children in hopes it will impact one as I was.”
The Mark “Worky” Workman Perseverance and Character Scholarship Award honors Workman, of Apple Valley, Minn. who passed away at age 47 in 2018 after a short and courageous battle with cancer. Workman was a passionate hockey man who gave much of his life to youth hockey and the growth of the game. He loved working with young players and cared deeply about their growth and personal development on and off the ice.
Workman grew up in Stillwater, Minn. He played hockey at the College of St. Scholastica, and coached the team after graduation. He later coached at Brown and Robert Morris Universities, and was an amateur scout for the Vegas Golden Knights.
The Workman family commented on Cassie McClure’s honor:
"The Workman family congratulates Cassie McClure on being chosen to receive the first Mark "Worky" Workman award. Mark's passion for hockey was boundless, his perseverance and character were hallmarks of Mark as both a player, coach and NHL scout. Through Cassie's struggles, she truly exemplifies these qualities and we wish Cassie the best as she continues her hockey career at UWS. We are grateful to the Herb Brooks Foundation for continuing to support player development in Mark’s memory."
Barclay Kruse is a member of the Herb Brooks Foundation.