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Edina High coach slated for surgery after hockey injury

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Edina High School girls hockey coach Laura Slominski on Tuesday morning was to undergo delicate surgery after a hockey game injury she suffered Sunday night, KARE 11 reports. She crashed into the boards and suffered a C5 fracture in her neck, the station reports.

Slominski was not paralyzed – she can move her legs and arms, but the surgery will help stabilize a fracture, KARE reports. "The prognosis is very good," Edina High School Principal Bruce Locklear told KARE.

Slominski is well known in the state's hockey community, KARE notes. She played for the Minnesota Gophers from 1998 to 2002, and had been head coach at Bloomington Kennedy High School. She was also an assistant at St. Cloud State University and the U of M.

Slominski was the focus of a New York Times story last year about women leaving college coaching jobs. She left her job at the U five years ago to teach mathematics and coach girls’ hockey coach at Edina High School. “People ask me all the time, how can you walk away from a Division I coaching job?” she told the Times. “I never once looked back and regretted my decision. I absolutely love what I’m doing."

Several high-profile hockey injuries have put a spotlight on the risks associated with the sport. Former Benilde-St. Margaret’s hockey player Jack Jablonski was paralyzed in a hit during a game in December 2011 and has been widely embraced by the hockey community since then. Jenna Privette, 18, of Lakeville, a senior at St. Croix Lutheran High School in West St. Paul, was also injured in a game last year, although she came back months later to play on her school's softball team.

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