A 5’2″ Giant: The story of Lexi Templeman

Lexi+Templeman+has+expanded+her+role+as+one+of+the+top+players+and+captain+of+the+women%27s+hockey+team.+Photo+Credit%3A+Tyler+Gallo

Lexi Templeman has expanded her role as one of the top players and captain of the women’s hockey team. Photo Credit: Tyler Gallo

By Owen Krepps, Copy Editor / Podcast GM

Lexi Templeman stands at 5-foot-2-inches and is the shortest player in all of Robert Morris University Athletics. She has been cut from many hockey teams in her career simply due to her size. She was told she was not strong enough, not big enough, and that she would never make it. Templeman is also the current RMU women’s hockey team captain and is tied for 5th all-time in franchise points.

In her years at RMU, Templeman has proved both on and off the ice her dedication to the sport of hockey and commitment to playing in the NCAA. She currently sits at 121 career points which ties her for fifth all-time in RMU women’s hockey history with Brianna Delaney. There is a good chance that she could rise to at least fourth all-time with a minimum of three games remaining on the current season.

Templeman also boasts a 0.88 points-per-game mark (seventh all-time) along with a 0.67 assists per-game mark (third all-time), and averages 2.93 shots per game (seventh all-time). She joins the likes of Rebecca Vint, Jaycee Gebhard, and Brittany Howard as some of the most accomplished players in the team’s history.

She is a two-time All-CHA regular season second-team player and won the CHA regular-season title with Robert Morris two times in her career thus far.

“You couldn’t ask for a better role model or a better leader. She is the real deal and the full package,” head coach Paul Colontino said in an AT&T Sportsnet Feature. “To have that as a coach in a captain and as a player is such a great thing.”

But as great as her hockey résumé may be, Templeman still has one box left to check. Last year’s seniors Jaycee Gebhard and Natalie Marcuzzi were the last players on the RMU women’s hockey team to win the CHA championship. This year’s senior class of Templeman, Emily Curlett, Emilie Harley, Molly Singewald, and Anjelica Diffendal have lost in every CHA final in their collegiate careers. Winning the CHA title would mean everything to this class.

“There would be no better way for the six of us to end our college hockey careers than to get a ring. I look at our group and not a single one of us has won a ring, and I say to myself ‘why not us’ it would be a first time for everyone, especially for us seniors to end with,” Templeman said.

Templeman’s origins in hockey go back to when she was just a toddler. Staffa, Ontario is a country town in the middle of nowhere, but it is where the Templeman family calls home. Lexi has three siblings, Jordan, Landan, and Nathan, who along with her parents, motivated her to play hockey. Lexi’s younger sister Jordan even played goalie, which made garage hockey even better for the family.

“Being Canadian, we were born with skates on. That’s embedded in us and our blood, growing up in a family where my siblings all played hockey too,” Templeman said. “I skated well by the time I was three and then I started playing organized hockey when I was four.”

Templeman’s hockey career started to take stride in high school. Templeman played junior hockey within the Provincial Women’s Hockey League (PWHL) for three years with the Kitchener Waterloo Lady Rangers, tallying 72 points in 109 total games played. She started to get recruited to Robert Morris around her sophomore year and Templeman realized she had true potential.

“The [PWHL] is very challenging and it does push you to your limits especially as I started playing in grade 10. I was young and I am built a lot smaller than a lot of people. It pushed me to my limits physically and mentally a lot of times.”

The PWHL has produced many talented women’s hockey players into collegiate programs in the United States (NCAA) and Canada (CIS). Some of these names include Natalie Spooner, Jennifer Wakefield, and Tara Watchorn, who all went on to become Canadian Olympians.

“[The PWHL] is one of the best hockey leagues for women’s hockey players looking to be recruited. The talent in Ontario as a whole is very high and there are a lot of people that play NCAA coming out of that league.”

Templeman never let her size discourage her and ruin her dreams of playing in the NCAA. Despite women’s hockey not allowing hitting, many coaches told Templeman that she simply did not have the genetics to play the game in the long run. But she made it to the Division I NCAA level with a simple mindset that she was taught in the PWHL.

“I have to play like I am a lot bigger than I am,” Templeman said.

If there is one particular tool that Templeman uses in her skillset that separates her from other players it is her passing. Templeman’s ability to see the ice from a different point of view has gotten her to be one of the most reliable forwards coach Colontino can look to put out on the ice. Templeman’s 88 career assists sit third all-time only behind Howard and Gebhard.

“[My passing] is something I take pride in, but personally, I do wish that I could score a few more goals,” Templeman said. “I am not much of a goal-scorer, I tend to find the net a few times during the year but my goal for this year is to score more goals. I have always been a passer and a heads-up player being able to find the open person.”

During the 2018-19 and 2019-20 seasons, Templeman was paired up with a player that could finish off her passes in Jaycee Gebhard, the all-time points leader in Robert Morris women’s hockey history. The duo of Templeman and Gebhard took over not just RMU, not just the CHA, but the entire NCAA and turned heads in every game they played.

The two combined for an absurd 107 points in 36 games during the 2019-20 season. Gebhard went on to be the all-time point leader in RMU women’s hockey history last season. Each time that she was asked what the key to her success was, however, she attributed it to her teammates. Templeman is one of those key teammates that Gebhard could have not done it without.

“Jaycee is an unbelievable player and very humble. She is right in the sense that nobody could do it alone and without the help of their teammates, linemates, coaches, support staff,” Templeman said. “Working with someone like Jay that finished well and scored a lot of goals made my job easy. I would just get her the puck and find her and she would put it in.”

Since Brittany Howard joined the team in 2013, RMU has been on an eight-year run with players that have gone on to become top five all-time point scorers with Howard, Gebhard, and now Templeman. There could potentially be another top-five player on the current team right now.

Lexi Templeman was named team captain for the 2020-21 season back in September. But unlike captains in the past, this season a captain has much more to handle due to COVID-19. The constant shifts to a schedule and the possibility of getting the virus could all make or break a season. As captain, Templeman has been doing her best to navigate the team through the season both on and off the ice.

“Lexi is one of the most amazing people that I have ever met, both on and off the ice she is such a leader in just how she speaks. When she talks in the dressing room people listen and she leads by example,” sophomore goaltender Raygan Kirk told AT&T Sportsnet.

So far, her navigation has worked. Robert Morris women’s hockey yet again is a contender and ready to take another crack at a CHA title. RMU currently has a 13-5-1 overall record and is continuing to receive USCHO poll votes at the beginning of every week.

There has been an upward trajectory of women’s hockey in the Pittsburgh area since Templeman arrived in 2017. From being consistently ranked in the USCHO’s women’s hockey poll, to hosting the Battle at the Burgh Tournament in 2019, women’s hockey is continuing to grow at Robert Morris.

“The hockey program here is continuing to trend in the right direction,” Templeman said. “The year before I came in they had just won a CHA championship so I wouldn’t say in the past was the most recognized but now we are consistently making it into the top-ten and getting ranked. We are definitely getting the name on the map more and more.”

After this year’s senior class graduates, the program will no doubt continue to gain traction and the publicity that it deserves. RMU will take on Syracuse this upcoming weekend in a home series that could very well be the deciding factor for the first seed in the CHA. Those games will be on Friday and Saturday nights at 7:05 and 2:05, respectively.

As for Templeman, she will continue to lead on the ice until she graduates in May with a degree in accounting. She states she has a job lined up with BBO Canada as she was an intern there previously.

For the full Templeman interview that aired back in November of 2020 click here.