Nick Crosby always thought he would “end up with her.”
The “her” Crosby, a fourth-year in health sciences and a forward on the Ohio State men’s club ice hockey team, is referring to is Maggie Rothgery, a senior forward on the OSU women’s varsity ice hockey team.
What did she think of her current boyfriend way back when?
“I always thought he was out of my league,” Rothgery said with a smile.
Irony aside, the two have been together for quite some time, even when they weren’t dating.
Crosby and Rothgery grew up in Elyria, Ohio, playing on a line under Maggie’s father, and former Buckeye hockey player, Don Rothgery when they were six years old.
It was under her father’s tutelage where the two developed their relationship and became the talented players they are today.
“They hit it off right away as friends when Nick came in our last year on mite hockey,” Don Rothgery said. “They are two of the nicest people I know. They’ve been friends forever.”
It was not until their high school years when they officially starting dating. Nick attended St. Edward High School in Lakewood, Ohio, while Maggie stayed close to home, attending Elyria High School.
Crosby competed for state titles as an Eagle, while Rothgery further honed her skills with the Ohio Flames AAA program.
Following graduation, Crosby began his time at OSU while Rothgery took her talents to Mercyhurst University in Erie, Pennsylvania, to play for the Lakers.
As one might imagine, the four-hour separation between Columbus and Erie wasn’t easy for the two.
“Distance was difficult, but I was very lucky that Nick was willing to come visit me almost every other weekend,” Rothgery said. “The hardest part was that we went from living two minutes apart and seeing each other everyday, to living in completely different states.”
After a few years, Rothgery decided to transfer to OSU to become a Buckeye.
“I was struggling at Mercyhurst and I knew being closer to Nick, regardless, would be better than the situation I was in there,” Rothgery said. “Mercyhurst just wasn’t the right fit for me and in the times that I visited, I loved OSU. The campus is beautiful and it’s arguably the best education you can get in Ohio, and in the country for that matter.”
Now in Columbus, the two continue to have a relationship as solid as the ice they play on.
“She’s my best friend,” Crosby said. “I’ve talked to some of my friends about it. They say, ‘Usually, when I hang out with my girlfriend, we have to try and find stuff to do.’ We can just go out, play hockey, and have a great time.”
Granted, there are challenges that come along with dating and being student-athletes.
The two are in the same major, meaning they see each other in class during the day, but homework, practice throughout the week and traveling for out-of-town games on weekends can be tough to work around.
“We dedicate a few nights a week to each other,” Crosby said. “That’s pretty much all we get are nights.”
With no Big Ten hockey conference established for women, Rothgery has to endure the rigorous travel accompanied with life in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association. Flights to Minnesota, North Dakota and Wisconsin are scattered throughout the season.
However, she said having Crosby waiting for her when she returns home is quite the luxury.
“It’s nice to date your best friend,” Rothgery said. “He makes it easy. Sometimes I’ll come home and he’ll make me dinner. It’s nice to just relax and have someone to relax with.”
Seeming like it has all happened so fast, Rothgery still finds herself in disbelief. Her linemate at 6 years old continues to be right by her side to this day.