ITHACA, N.Y. — When Finley Frechette recorded her final podcast, she struggled to get all the words out. But she did. Like a pro.
“I was saying goodbye to hockey, but also to this podcast that I put so much time into. It was kind of like a sense of saying goodbye to two really big things in my life.”
Frechette’s podcast, entitled “Over the Goal Line”, kicked off in January 2020 as a way of bringing the Big Red hockey community behind the scenes with the team. Months later, her storybook junior campaign was erased when COVID rushed the clock to midnight three weeks too early. Cornell, ECAC Hockey regular season champions and the No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament, was less than 48 hours from beginning its quest for a national title. As she recorded her final podcast a year later, her senior hockey season had also been canceled and Frechette felt compelled to share her thoughts – about the sport she loved, about her family’s sacrifice and commitment, about her deep sense of gratitude for the ride she took.
“I psyched myself up because I really wanted to share this story with everybody. It’s my personal story, but it connects with everybody who’s ever witnessed loss. I knew that it was going to be relatable to everybody listening, in some sense.
A dual-sport athlete, Frechette’s final podcast, recorded this past January, seems even more relevant now. Months later, a second consecutive lacrosse season was shortened, bringing a new round of goodbyes. More than likely, and unbeknownst to her, the Ode to Hockey also functioned as a farewell to collegiate sports.
“At the time that I released the final podcast, we still had hope for lacrosse season, and we were all banking on it happening. I wanted to share my Ode to Lacrosse.”
“My love of lacrosse is so strong. I obviously committed to Cornell to play ice hockey, but in every meeting I had with any coach while getting recruited, I asked ‘would you be open to having a two-sport athlete’ because I was not ready to give up the sport of lacrosse. It was always the goal in the back of my head that I was going to be the person who plays two sports and who figures out a way to have it happen. I just really wanted to have a coach who was willing to let it happen. I ended up at Cornell and I’m so incredibly grateful for my lacrosse teammates and coaches who supported me on the ice and (her sister and teammate) Gillis as well. I was so excited when we were able to come back to lacrosse. My love for everybody in the program is so deep, it’s really hard for me to put into words. I’m just really grateful that people took a chance and allowed me to pursue my dream of playing two sports and keeping the dream of playing lacrosse alive.”
Frechette, along with producer Christopher Morales, released seven episodes of “Over the Goal Line” pre-COVID. They put out 17 more after it canceled sports at Cornell. While the focus of the stories changed, the medium allowed Frechette to branch out. She interviewed Olympian Brianne Jenner and ESPN personality Sarah Spain. She spoke with lacrosse teammate Ashleigh Gundy about allyship and combating racism. She turned the microphone on her family to discuss quarantining with the Frechettes.
All the while, it touched the Big Red hockey community and many more who came across it. She hopes that it gives Cornell fans a window into life as a student-athlete during these times.
As for Frechette, she’s hoping to continue finding her voice in the world of digital storytelling.
“I think that I have sort of the voice and the personality that goes along with audio storytelling. I don’t need to be in front of a camera to portray emotion or excitement, I can do that with my voice,” Frechette said. “It’s something that I’m really glad that I found out now because I can do something with it.
“I’ve found a true passion for audio storytelling through this podcast.”