One-handed Minnesota senior wins starting goalie spot

Ben Rohrbach
Prep Rally

Caitlin Tate gives new meaning to the one-handed save.

Minnesota teen Caitlin Tate starts at goalie despite playing with one hand -- Pioneer Press
Minnesota teen Caitlin Tate starts at goalie despite playing with one hand -- Pioneer Press

Born without a right hand, the Park (Cottage Grove, Minn.) High senior earned the starting goalie spot, beating out two others on her high school girls hockey team, as chronicled in a fantastic feature from the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

"A lot of people come up and ask me, 'Is it hard having only one hand?' " Tate told the paper. "I have no idea. This is how I've lived my whole life. I've just kind of adapted to life having only one hand.

"A huge reason why I really like to play hockey and why I stuck with it so long is because I can step out on the ice and have a glove and a blocker and people don't see me differently. I want to be treated the same, exactly like any other kid."

After attempting both lacrosse and soccer with limited success as a child, Tate followed in the footsteps of her brother Dan, a former Park High goalie himself, and enlisted in Mike Moline's goalie clinic at age 8, according to the Pioneer Press story.

She later commissioned Minneapolis' Shriners Hospital for Children to fashion a prosthetic hand that fits snugly into a goalie glove. After first conditioning herself to remember the prosthetic indeed existed, she learned to grasp the puck with the glove.

From there, it was game on. Doubters be damned.

"I guess I just like proving those people wrong; I like to be the inspiration," added Caitlin. "I like to be the person who shows you that if you put your mind to something you can do it.

"I'm glad God blessed me this way. It made me who I am."

Also the goalies coach for Park's varsity team, Moline feels just as blessed to have had the opportunity to mentor Tate.

"She's one of the most incredible kids I've ever met," Moline told the Pioneer Press. "She's friendly, bubbly, outgoing. She walks into a room, and the room lights up. She's a wonderful role model, an inspiration.

"It's a blessing that she has come into my life. I'll never forget her."

Tate averages 27.6 saves and owns an 87.7 save percentage. Your move, Jim Abbot.

What to Read Next