Everyone knows the people on the ice, even the people in the front offices, but what about those that also pour their time, money and emotional well-being into the team on the ice. I’m talking about the fans of the game, that come in all ages, from different places, whether they be aspiring players, or just those who love to watch this game.
Faces of the Game will take a look at some of those who attend the games we love. In this edition, Along the Boards looked at some of the people who attended last weekends inaugural All Star Game for the National Women’s Hockey League held in Buffalo, New York.
Nicole, Neely, Hattie, and Lilly – Pittsburgh, PA
Favorite team: Buffalo Beauts (except for Nicole, who prefers the Boston Pride)
Favorite player: Kelley Steadman
These girls, all young hockey players themselves, travelled to Buffalo for the All Star Game that day with their parents, having been told about the game by fellow Pittsburgher, the Buffalo Beauts’ Kelley Steadman.
Mid-interview we were interrupted by Meghan Duggan, who photobombed the girls, granting them an awesome photo opportunity.
When asked what it means to have the players to look up to, especially as hockey players themselves, they say “It’s cool, and they’re good role models.”
Dr Sue Baldwin – Buffalo, NY
Favorite team: Buffalo Beauts
Favorite player: Hilary Knight
Dr Baldwin is the District Wellness Coordinator with Buffalo City Schools, and she has informed opinions about what needs to happen to promote hockey, and women’s hockey in the city. Having played for 20 years, most recently with the Batavia Babes, Dr Baldwin is involved in many levels of hockey having helped with the local college team, where she is a level 4 coach. She believes in “just promoting [the women’s game]. If they have it here, you’ve got to promote it or it’s not going to be here… To me personally, it means getting this into the Buffalo City schools where I’m the District Wellness Coordinator. Giving girls another, and even boys, because it’s right down the street from where the schools are and none of the kids are playing ice hockey. It’s all in the suburbs and we really want to get this going in the urban setting.”
Jason McLeish, and the Atom AA Oakville Hornets Team – Oakville, Ontario
Favorite Team: Buffalo Beauts
Favorite Player: Meghan Duggan
“Megan [Duggan] coaches with all these girls [on the Oakville Hornets], so they thought it’d be great to come and support her. We don’t have a game today, so we thought we’d come. We cancelled our practice. We took a bus down, all the Dads up there [in the stands], it’s a Dad-and-Daughter trip.”
“I coached my son, and then my daughter started playing and I thought it’d be fun to coach the girls. And its WAY more fun coaching girls than boys. Way more fun!” (Yeahs! from the girls) – on getting involved with women’s hockey
“Because of them right here, all these girls,” that’s why he supports women’s hockey.
Growing the game means… “to start at this level, make them love the game, get better at the game and it’ll just grow.”
Lindsay Masters – Tonawanda, NY
Favorite Team: Buffalo Beauts
Favorite Players: Meghan Duggan, Brianne McLaughlin
“It was really about the women part of it, you know I was excited about something that is the first for women. I thought it was important and I wanted to support it. My husband’s a really big fan of the [Buffalo] Sabres, so I thought, why not?! Start getting into hockey!” – Lindsay on getting into women’s hockey.
Growing the game means… “outreach, and marketing. Word of mouth, and getting more people involved and interested that normally wouldn’t have had been.”
Interviews conducted by Rachelle Thompson for Along the Boards