Toulson hired to make Western Wisconsin Stars girls varsity hockey team shine
After serving as the team’s assistant coach for five years, Hillary Toulson is getting her chance to serve as the head coach of the Western Wisconsin Stars varsity girls hockey team.
Toulson has strong ties to the New Richmond-based girls hockey cooperative team. She’s a Baldwin-Woodville graduate, but she skated with the New Richmond team when B-W was part of the cooperative. Toulson graduated from B-W in 2001. She then played hockey collegiately at UW-Stevens Point.
Toulson takes over the head coaching position from Emily Dabrowski. Dabrowski gave up the position after taking over the varsity girls softball coaching post in New Richmond this year.
“Emily and I grew as a coaching pair,” Toulson said. “I understand the game from a player’s aspect and now I do from a coach’s aspect.”
One of the biggest immediate challenges for Toulson will be filling out the Stars roster for the upcoming season. The team graduated seven girls, with two freshmen expected to join the game. Toulson said she’s hoping to add a half-dozen girls who’ve played hockey in the past to fill out the team’s lineup.
“We’re actively recruiting,” Toulson said. “We’re looking for high school girls who know how to skate.”
The lack of players should be a one-year problem. The upcoming eighth grade class has a strong group of skaters who should replenish the roster. The Stars currently have one girl who will be a senior this fall: Bailey Erickson. The large eighth grade group will allow the Stars to carry a U14 team this winter.
With the early practice hours that Stars usually hold, parent involvement is a large part of the team.
“Parent communication is key, that’s one thing Emily and I learned. They’re your biggest supporters,” Toulson said.
There are changes on several fronts for Toulson. After working for several years as a special education teacher in Somerset, this summer she’s changing roles, becoming a fourth grade teacher at the Somerset Elementary School. She’s also got a busy life at home, with a 13-month-old daughter.
“My husband’s very supportive and so are my parents,” Toulson said. “I have a great support system, especially on game nights. My parents brought her to a lot of the games.”