At 7:45 every Tuesday morning, the Penn women's club ice hockey team can be found lacing up skates, putting on pads and gliding on the untouched, fresh ice. Although it is not a varsity sport and the stands never fill with hundreds of fans, that doesn't stop these Penn athletes. Just four years ago, the women's ice hockey was hardly even in existence. When Dominique Pichard, now a captain, began playing hockey for Penn, she found herself in a jumbled mess of grad students and disorganization. This season, its a completely different story. The Red and Blue now have a committed coach and a team that boasts a roster of 23. "My biggest goal for this team was really build it up and make it solid," Pichard said. "It's come a long way since my freshman year." The Red and Blue are a dedicated group of individuals. The team practices twice a week and has a 20-game schedule -- meaning most Saturdays are filled with hockey. So what exactly drives these women to give up so much of their time? Well, that depends on who you ask. But pretty much everyone can agree on two things -- they do it for love of their teammates and for the love of the sport. "We have a lot of team spirit," junior Torrey Boland said. "And we always have fun... just hanging out or talking before and after the games. We're a really close group." Fun isn't the only reason the Quakers are out on the ice --they are out to improve, as well. Although their record is heavy on the losses side, Penn refuses to be discouraged; the point of the women's club hockey team is to improve every single one of its players. "We show a lot of intensity towards practice, especially since some of the people on the team have never even skated before," senior Jodi Cohen said. The team attributes much of its success this season to their new head coach, Paul Caron. Previously, the Quakers relied on players and an array of uncommitted coaches to lead the team. With Caron, however, the team has experienced a renaissance. The coach is insistent on creating a more serious and skilled team. "When we came in this year, our goal was to basically fix all of the old problems," Caron said."We're also working on improving the individual and teaching the girls that have never played before how to play a hockey game." Though the team has been focusing on the individual, the team aspect of the sport is eminently important as well. "We finally, by this point in the season, have learned how to take all our individual talent and put it together to work as a team," freshman Zoe Harris said. The Red and Blue are winding down the season, with only two games left. This weekend the Quakers will take on the New Jersey Quarry Cats. They'll finish their season March 3 against Rutgers. Although the Penn women's ice hockey team will close out the year with a losing record, it won't matter to the players. This season has been about improvement, camaraderie and, most of all, the sport. "I enjoy playing hockey again," Harris said. In the end, that's all that really matters.Comments powered by Disqus
Please note All comments are eligible for publication in The Daily Pennsylvanian.