In celebration of the diversity of WWFHA’s student-athletes, with talents both on and off the ice, we would like to take this time to celebrate the creative talents of a few players whom submitted essays, artwork and photography.
[Leah - player artist] Leah
Team: 14U Washington Wild
Title: The Beginning
“I’m kind of nervous,” I said to my family as we were driving to my first hockey practice. At the beginning of January 2013 my brother, Bryce, had a tournament for his hockey team. Before, I thought that hockey was more of a boys’ sport, but I saw how much fun he had with his team, and I was intrigued to try it out.
“But I am definitely excited!” I added on to my previous statement.
“Are you ready?” Mom asked.
“Yeah!!!” I replied excitedly.
When we arrived at Highland Ice Arena I really felt the butterflies arriving in my stomach with every step I took closer to the entrance. There were so many questions spinning around in my head at that very moment. My head felt like it was about to explode.
Ally and Sophie. Thank goodness for them both because otherwise I would not know what to do or where to go after I got there. They helped me feel like that was where I belonged, but at the same time, they let me feel independent. Ally and Sophie introduced me to everybody on the Washington Wild 14U, girls’ hockey team. As practice went on, I was amazed by how kind they all were. Even though most of them were older than me, they didn’t act like they were ‘cooler’ than me, and there never was just one person, I noticed, who was superior to everyone else.
After warm-ups where we did stretches and things of that sort (basically to get our bodies warmed up and ready to go on the ice), we got in our hockey gear. That was not the first time I had to put on all my gear, but it was still hard to figure out where everything went. I felt like a human marshmallow with all of the padding that we were required to wear. My dad had to tie my skates because I was not quite strong enough to get them tight enough, and my jersey always got stuck on my shoulder pads, and I had to have my new friend Katie help me.
On the ice I fell repeatedly, but always got a fist-bump from one of my teammates when I managed to get back on my skates. I would run into the white-colored boards and use them as an ‘emergency brake’ when I needed to stop. I had a ton of fun even though I obviously was not as skilled as the others. Falling did not bother me, since I was practically wearing a marshmallow, that was how it felt when I tripped on the ice (it only hurt a little, but still I did not mind). Everyone was incredibly supportive when I fell, and made me feel like it was not a big deal. My coaches helped me learn new techniques that I could work on to help my skating and stick-handling, and Coach Adrienne helped me to improve my backwards skating.
When practice was over, I got out of all my gear, I said goodbye to my new friends and headed to the car with my family.
“Did you have fun?” Dad asked.
“Definitely,” I replied, “I think that I am going to love hockey!”
[Bonnie - player artist] Bonnie
Team: 14U Washington Wild
[Bethany - player artist] Bethany
Team: 19U Washington Wild
Title: Johnathan Quick – goaltender
[Laura - player artist] Laura
Team: 19U Rep Washington Wild
Title: Tuukka Rask – goaltender
[Julia - player artist] Julia
Team: 19U Rep Washington Wild
Medium: Essay and Photography
Title: Forty Four Square Feet / Gear / Ghost
Forty four square feet. That’s just a rough reminder of where I’m supposed to stand. This half-moon goal crease is where I protect a twenty four square foot opening from a three inch black rubber disk shot towards me. I am the last line of defense.
This is where I quarterback five other players, warning them of potential threats. This is where I make the save to win the championship game or miss the puck to lose it. This is where I am when I miss birthday parties, school dances, and vacations. This is where I get slashed at, bumped around, and sat on This is where I stand as I watch my team score a goal. This is where I shed blood, sweat, and tears. This is my net and nobody gets to stand in it. This is my home away from home. This is where I am perfectly content.
This is where I stand, sit, or sprawl to make a save. This is where I have witnessed three concussions, two broken butts, and a shattered forearm. I have played on a national stage and attended national development camps. This is where I have lost games 12-0 and won others 17-0, yet the best games end within one point. I have even gotten a penalty.
This is where I learned the importance of positive attitudes and teamwork. This is where I learned that the mind controls the body and that the mental game is just as important as the physical one. There is plenty of time to be happy or sad after the game. This is where I learned a goalie stands alone but is not lonely.
This is where I learned that mutual respect is the best way to get along with people I don’t like and that overcoming adversity and taking charge is the only way to win against cheap teams and bad refs. This is where I learned that good offense starts with good defense and that offense wins games but defense wins championships. I have learned that luck is when preparation meets opportunity—so you’d better be prepared.
When I am angry or sad, the first and only place I want to be is in the net, standing in my forty four square feet of blue painted ice. From my home rink to the national championships, every rink is different and no two goal creases are alike, but it doesn’t matter. They are all home.