Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Women's Ice Hockey

If you're looking for an affordable way to see great hockey--check out collegiate hockey, especially women's college hockey. These young women are passionate and skilled players that definitely could use some crowds cheering them on and some upcoming hockey players to see there is life after house/travel.

Here's what you missed this past weekend at Niagara University. The women's ice hockey team upset nationally ranked No. 4 Mercyhurst in a very exciting overtime. Freshman Kristen Richards scored her biggest goal ever when she put the puck on the top shelf taking the Purple Eagles to a 4-3 victory.

Leading up to that OT, was an exciting game of hard skating, some hitting, lots of shooting and a hard fought game on both sides.

Coach Chris MacKenzie noted that this was a total team effort with everyone working hard to take home the win.

Not only do you see great hockey but there's also a chance to see members of Team USA. Many of these girls play collegiate hockey, taking time away from college to play for the USA.

Aside from that, its a more informal atmosphere after the game where players can connect with their fans.

So in the Western New York area, go to the websites of Niagara University, Buffalo State College, University of Buffalo, RIT, Cornell, Elmira, Syracuse University and check out their schedules. Take note of their opponent and go to that website and find out who plays for Brown, Harvard, Yale, Northeastern and other colleges.

Now an update from WNY Varsity. The girls have taken to the ice with tryouts and practices. They have ordered their jerseys, continue to work on fundraisers and are ready for the puck to officially drop on December 1. The Girls Varsity Hockey Federation of 2010-11 will find seven teams representing nine schools facing off in the Inaugural Season. You can follow what's happening and get the schdule on their Facebook page or at Girls4VarsityIceHockey.com

Two WNY girls are featured in the Fall issue of My Ice Magazine. Katelyn Koester and Brigid O'Gorman each have unique stories to tell and they share their hockey experiences with the world. Katelyn, deaf from birth, will play varsity ice hockey with the girls in the Inaugural season and Brigid shares her experiences in Uganda working in a clinic and sharing her love of hockey with the villagers. Check out My Ice magazine at their website.

My apologies again for not keeping this as current as I had planned. With the season beginning, the news will roll in and I'll share it.

For those in New York State, WNY Hockey Magazine will be premiering a New York State E newsletter in 2011. Watch for it and if you have news to share please send it to me at janetschultz@yahoo.com

Friday, October 22, 2010

WNY HAS Girls Varsity Ice Hockey

It's finally here--the 2010 - 2011 Ice Hockey Season and with Western New York icing a Girls Varsity Ice Hockey League. Made up of nine schools forming seven teams these girls will take to the ice in November for tryouts and practice. Then on December 1 at 3:50 p.m. the first-ever Varsity Girls Ice Hockey game will be played at the Northtowns Ice Center at Amherst pitting the Catholic schools of Monsignor Martin against Williamsville school district.

While the first game of the season will be historic, so will the second. On December 2 at 5 p.m. Orchard Park/Frontier will take on Lancaster at the Time Warner Rink in East Aurora. What's so unique? The rink used is outside and is the rink that was used in the NHL Winter Outdoor Classic held New Year's Day in 2008 at Rich Stadium in Buffalo. That was the first-ever NHL Winter Outdoor game held pitting the Buffalo Sabres against the Pittsburgh Penquins.

Games continue at rinks thoughout Erie County including West Seneca, Lincoln, Tacoma, Hamburg and Dann Memorial at Nichols School.

In addition to the teams above girls will be playing for Kenmore West Seneca, and Amherst/Sweethome.

The girls are proud to be wearing their school colors and having their classmates cheer them on. On other days these girls will continue to play together at their respective house/travel teams.

While these nine schools are taking the chance, Girls 4 Varsity Ice Hockey is waiting and willing to help all other schools in Western New York get their teams on the ice. Funding for these teams is not entirely by the schools. In fact a couple schools have told the teams they must raise their entire yearly budget and they are doing that with fundraisers that range from golf tournaments, pancake breakfasts, bbqs, hot dog sales and bake sales.

It's been a long hard-fought four years to get to this point from the grassroots effort of parents, coaches and supporters who formed Girls 4 Varsity Hockey. They still have a long way to go. But on December 1 they will be celebrating as the puck drops.

Come and show your support! Their schedule will be posted in WNY Hockey Magazine and on their website.

Congratulations to all who worked so hard and thanks to the school districts who had the foresight to agree to icing a team.

Friday, August 13, 2010

First Women's Draft Held

The first-ever draft for women hockey players was held by the Canadian Women's Hockey League. They have restructured the league and will ice five teams this fall including Boston, Brampton, Burlington, Montreal and Toronto. In doing so, five players were protected for the Boston team including three Team USA Olympians--Kacey Bellamy, Caitlin Cahow and Molly Engstrom. Also protected were Melissa Haber from Toronto/Boston University and Cherie Hendrickson who most recently played for the CWHL Burlington Team.

By holding a draft, league officials feel that it will ensure that players will return to the League after a year of training for the Olympics.

The draft, which was held at the Hockey Hall of Fame on August 12, will be followed by team tryouts, an evaluation and a mini-draft before the start of preseason play on October 9.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Summer Hockey Update

Well, its been a while since I posted. With family coming in and out of town, vacation and lots of yard work it's been a summer moving very quickly. For many young women, it's also a time for some summer hockey development and working hard at accomplishing another goal in their hockey career.

Congratulations to Emily Pfalzer of Getzville, New York who was named to the USA U18 Team and will attend the National Festival in Lake Placid. The week-long event is highlighted with a three-game competition between the US and Canada on August 18, 19 and 21. Pfalzer is a defenseman who plays for the Mississauga Jr. Chiefs. Another New Yorker named to the team is Albany's Courtney Burke.

USA Hockey has named Reagan Carey director of women's hockey. She comes from Colby College where she captained the team and has spent the last nine years working for the NHL Atlanta Thrashers. Carey replaces Michele Amidon who will now handle the USA Hockey American Development Model. Amidon was the first-ever Director of Women's Hockey for USA Hockey.

Sabrina Harbec was named Syracuse Women's Ice Hockey Assistant Coach. She comes from St. Lawrence University. This will be Syracuse's third season.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

WNY Has Girls Varsity Ice Hockey

It took 4 1/2 years of constant talking to school boards, school administrators and anyone that would listen, but the Girls 4 Varsity Ice Hockey Committee and players celebrated the formation of a Girls Varsity Ice Hockey League in Western New York last week.

At present seven schools have agreed to field six teams. One district is joining forces with another to make this a reality for our girls. This Fall, Williamsville, Amherst, Mgs. Martin Catholic Schools, Kenmore-Tonawanda, West Seneca and Orchard Park/Frontier will battle it out on the ice.

What makes this whole story so unique is that the parents and players that came together to make this happen are historically rivals on the ice through their local hockey organizations. Another thing that came out of this is that a whole group of people that barely knew or didn't know each other have formed a lasting friendship all in the name of a common cause--ice hockey for their girls!!

At the present time this Committee will be focusing on fundraising for those teams who have been directed to fund their team either totally or in part for the coming year. This due to the fiscal situation in the State and at the School District level.

Orchard Park has plans to sell red, white and blue necklaces at the July 4 celebration in Orchard Park; they will also have a booth at the Taste of Orchard Park on July 28 and will also be at the Orchard Park Street Dance on July 31. I urge anyone who can attend these events to stop over and support these girls as they work to raise money for their team.

In addition Orchard Park has sent many letters to businesses, individuals and organizations asking for cash donations. There are several levels to give including Founders, Premier, Sponsor, Donor and Super Fan. To learn more check out their page on Facebook.

As the move goes forward, the Athletic Directors are meeting regularly to work out schedules, ice times, coaching, refereeing and other particulars.

For those who don't feel a girls varsity league is necessary--let's look at how many of them would have made it on a boy's varsity team, how would collegiate scouts find them to offer scholarships so they can continue playing and how many will now have the opportunity to look at Team USA possibilities, coaching possibilities and a future as an adult in hockey.

Another event for girls is a Girls Hockey Camp being held at Leisure Rinks in the Buffalo area on July 6, 8, 13, 15, 20, 11 and August 3 and 5. The skates will be held Noon to 1:30 p.m. daily. Registrations are due Sunday, June 20--short notice I realize. For information email dgilham@opschools.org

This is an amazing, historical happening for Western New York and Girls Ice Hockey. My congratulations to all who worked so hard.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Don't Let This Die

Well the school budgets are passed. When will the Districts step up and agree to field girls varsity ice hockey for Fall 2010. A group of parents, coaches, players and supporters have worked diligently for four years to make this happen. They have been put off by Athletic Directors, Superintendents and Boards of Education long enough. They have four teams committed and need one more to make the league. They even have a district who won't commit until they have five--why won't that district be number 5??? The boys in WNY have had a varsity league for years. The group has proven the same commitment and probably more for the girls. They have offered to fund raise, they have proven there are enough players for this year and in years to come. I guess my frustration is coming out in that women have to work so hard for everything they accomplish even after all these years. We thought we had equal rights, we thought we had support from our families, friends and male counterparts to move up and on in the world--Hey everyone--that includes Sports. The physicalness of hockey makes it necessary for women and men to be separated. However, women's hockey is still hockey and still carries some physical attributes--has any looked at penalties in women's hockey at the collegiate level--did anyone watch the physical play of the olympic teams? Come one WNY, step up to the plate and show the world that we love our hockey here at all levels and all genders!!!

if this doesn't happen for Fall 2010, it will be a travesty for the area, for women's hockey and hockey in general. GIRLS DESERVE TO PLAY ICE HOCKEY!!!!


Saturday, May 15, 2010

I apologize for my lack of blogging in the past few weeks. I've had a lot of personal travel to do and in a couple of places hard to access internet. Hockey hasn't gone away just because seasons ended, schools are coming to a close and championships have been awarded.

Western New York faired very well in amateur hockey play.

The Buffalo Bison's U!2 team tied for fifth place overall, posting two wins and one loss in the round robin play of the Nationals. The Bison's finished the year with an overall record of 34 wins, 22 losses and 6 ties. They took the Conference Title in the Canadian League and played in the Canadian Frozen Four.

The Bison's U14 team beat the Northern Lights Silver in the first game of the taking them to the quarterfinals where they lost 5-2. Both goals coming in the second.

The Niagara Junior Purple Eagles Tier II U14 Team made their first national appearance and played through to the semi=finals before being defeated by the Bay State Breakers, the 2010 National Champs.

Buffalo Bisons U16 Team lost in the first round of the nationals.

In the Women's Senior A Division a combined team made up of players from the Rochester Edge and other Western New York teams were the first ever to play in the nationals at this level. Although defeated they made a good showing by beating Assebet Valley and Team Connecticut before losing to Minnesota, the champion from the last three of four years.

In the 30 Plus Division the Rochester Edge beat the Columbus Capitals and then lost to the East Coast Wizards and Team Michigan.

More on collegiate in next blog.

For complete Women's coverage look for copies of Western New York Hockey magazine at news stands in Wegmans.