Winter Sport Senior Athlete Profile: Coco Francis ’21


Courtesy of Ross LaDue

Annie O'Donnell , Staff Writer

Coco Francis ’21 is a Biomedical Engineering major from Maple Grove, Minnesota. In addition to being a goalie on the Women’s Ice Hockey team, she is a member of the biomedical engineering society.

Q: Can you briefly explain how you got started in your sport and what was your experience like before Union?

I think I started when I was around six, hockey is such a big sport in Minnesota that it was only natural to start playing on the pond. A huge part of Minnesota hockey that’s different from most of the states and Canada is that high school hockey is top tier. Most states don’t really play high school like they do AAA teams so it’s players from all over the state, but I was able to grow up through high school playing with basically the same group of girls. 

Q:  How has your athletic experience been at Union and what is the difference between your prior experience and college?

My personal experience has definitely had its ups and downs but I have the best teammates that make every struggle worth it. The speed of the game has definitely increased since high school and having to travel on weekends was a change for me, but the roadies resulted in some of my favourite memories with my teammates.

Q: Do you have any pregame rituals?

I have a specific timed out time that I listen to music that’s sad whereas most people listen to hype music. It helps me calm down before games so I play better. I also had a handshake with my teammate, Haley Shugart ’20, which was always done before puck drop.

Q: What is your favorite thing about hockey?

I love being a part of a team but as a goalie, I also have a large individual role that I enjoy. I think just the speed and competitiveness of hockey is also an unreal aspect.

Q: What has been the highlight of your athletic career so far?

My freshman year we swept Brown and Yale at home and I was able to start both games. A sweep, in general, is always huge but they are our top rivals so it felt really good to come together as a team and get those wins early on in the season to put us up in the rankings. 

Q: What is the one thing people would be surprised to know about your sport?

Players change on the fly and even goalies could change on the fly. 

Q: How do you think your sport has influenced your experience at Union?

I think the friends I have made from my sport here at Union really complete my experience. I don’t think I would be where I am today without my teammates. 

Q: What will you miss about being on a team at Union?

I will for sure miss the road trips with the team and the goofy competitions we did to pass time on the bus like joke competitions or karaoke competitions. I think moving forward after college though, our team has gotten so close over the years that we’ll always be a part of the team. 

Q: Any advice to younger athletes?

Don’t give up on yourself or your dreams no matter how hard it gets. 

Q: What is your favorite thing to eat on campus?

A reamer breakfast wrap cannot be beaten. 

Q: What is your favorite thing about Union?

I love the small class sizes and community feel of Union. There’s not a day that goes by where I don’t bump into someone I know walking through the halls or around campus. 

Q: What is your favorite restaurant in Schenectady and why?

Oliver’s Cafe is THE place to go for breakfast. It’s such a cute little cafe with unbelievably nice staff and some of the best home fries. My housemates and I get it almost every Sunday. 

Q: What is a fun fact about you that most people don’t know?

My real name is Celina and Coco is just a nickname. 

Q: Who or what serves as your biggest inspiration?

My family. My parents have sacrificed so much for me to get where I am and I’d like to make them proud. I also come from a massive family (my dad has 10 siblings) and they’ve been so supportive of me since day one. 

Q: What are your goals after graduation or do you have any post-graduation plans?

Hopefully, fingers crossed, I’m able to land a job in engineering possibly in the Boston area. I’d like to do something towards sports science where I can combine my background in biomedical engineering with my love for hockey and sports.