A Collegiette's Guide to Hockey

Hockey has been around since 1875, when the first match was played between James Creighton and McGill University students in Montreal. Women’s hockey appeared more commonly in the 20th century. Women in "masculine" sports such as golf, baseball, football and hockey have grown, and are still growing. HC is providing a taste of one sport, a collegiette’s firsthand experience with hockey, with an interview from Carly Costello of Adrian College!

HC: How long have you played hockey?

 Carly: I have played hockey for four and a half years.

HC: How were you introduced to the sport?

Carly: My little brother started playing hockey when I was in 6th grade and I spent most of my middle and high school years at the Adrian College rink, Arrington Ice Arena, and I decided one day I wanted to play too.

HC: Give us a run-down of the sport. How many women are on your team?

 Carly: The minimum is 10 skaters and 1 goalie. Your teams can have a roster of 20 players, and colleges can carry rosters of 25.

HC: How has hockey affected your life? For instance, has it caused more ridicule or acceptance?

Carly: In my area, hockey is not that popular, and it especially wasn't when I began playing. I was one of less than five kids my age who played in the whole county. Hockey is a community though, and I found myself immersed in it when I began playing even more than I already was and that was what caused ridicule from my "friends." I ended up not having a lot of friends in my group of homeschoolers throughout high school because I was "different" and playing hockey was "different". However, I found my best group of friends through hockey, in the hockey community. These friendships are those that will last for the rest of my life.

HC: What is your conditioning like? 

Carly: I was a student/assistant coach with a girls’ U16 team my junior year and part of my senior year. They did a light workout and stretch before each practice and game, and at least twice a month, they would go to a gym as a team as well as doing things like running on their own. Strengthening your core is very important in hockey, as everything really revolves around your core strength and balance. Guys are usually known to life weights more than girls, but as players get older, everyone begins to do more work off the ice if they want to get better. In college, teams have set workouts that they do a set number of times per week depending on the team.

HC: How much play time do you have in a week?

Carly: Three skates a week is typical for high school-aged youth hockey players. Here at Adrian, our NCAA D3 teams and Men's Club Division 1 team practice every day where our Women's ACHA (Club) team practices three times a week and our Men's Club Division 3 teams practice three times a week (all for two hours each practice).

HC: Do you watch hockey? If so or not, how do you think that affects that way you play?

Carly: I watched hockey before I began playing, but after, I started watching it differently. I focused more on the way plays were made and how certain players used their different skills and their own techniques so that I could try new things to improve myself. After coaching, I began to watch it differently yet again as I could more easily pick out flaws in plays or think of different ways to handle certain plays.

HC: Are you and your team members close?

Carly: I had to quit playing competitively after my sophomore year of high school due to the lack of girls my age playing hockey in the state. Instead of playing, I coached. The girls’ under-16 team I coached for a year and a half was the tightest knit group of girls I have ever met. The girls, quite frankly, got along better than the boys that I coached at the same time. Even after not coaching their team anymore and going to college, I still keep in touch with the girls and their parents.

HC: What do you love about the sport?

Carly: My favorite thing about hockey is the sense of community. I have a huge hockey family and I've grown close to different people because of hockey. These people are more supportive than my actual extended family members a lot of the time. I miss the feeling of being a part of something bigger than myself that comes with being on a team and seriously miss the feeling of scoring a goal or winning a big game as a team.

HC: Any tips?

Carly: Constantly work at it and don't give up. Set your goals and don't stop until you reach them. I didn't actually play hockey until I was 14, and at 16, I decided I wanted to play college club hockey. For a while, I worked really, really hard at it and was determined to make the team this past September. But I let things get in my head and never tried out, and now I'm regretting it a bit.

 

Hockey, among other sports, is growing, and we hope that it continues. Girls, if you're interested, even in just trying the sport, don't be afraid to think big, and join or start your own team. Get out there and try it; it can't hurt!

Happy Sporting!