Getting to Know Me
“Let’s go play cellah hawkey!”
“I’m not playing goalie!”
The sounds of my childhood! In the Perry household sports were life and hockey was oxygen. As a young girl growing up in New England, playing hockey in the basement of our home was where my siblings and I passed many hours. A female in the 80’s and 90’s had the team option of: playing with the boys’ team. For reasons that might be better uncovered in therapy, it took me over 20 years to figure out that ‘playing with the boys’ would not only help me play better but would also be a lot of fun! Instead, I lived vicariously through my brother and then my sister (she was luckily growing up during the women’s hockey boom) and spent my days as a High School Cheerleader. I’d play with them in the basement or on the pond but never had the courage to join a team myself at that time.
As a freshman at the University of Massachusetts-Lowell, I opted out of cheerleading in order to join a startup women’s ice hockey club team. Walking into practice that first day was as exhilarating as it was terrifying. What was I doing? I’d never played on a hockey team before! How was I going to just “learn” organized hockey at my age? When I got onto the ice I quickly realized that I better learn fast because I was on a team with women who obviously decided to ‘play with the boys’. One amazing coach and four years later, I felt comfortable with being a ‘real’ hockey player. As a team we fundraised and recruited to keep the team going with the dream of UML one day having a Hockey East women’s team. It hasn’t come to fruition just yet but when it happens, I will smile knowing I was part of the beginning.
Here we are, some XX years later and hockey is still my oxygen. I currently player/coach on a women’s United Women’s Hockey League team, coach a women’s beginner team and captain a coed team in my home arena’s Adult Instructional League. It’s very hard to describe the feeling you get when you witness someone lift a wrist shot for the first time or to see the light of recognition when a player realizes what you mean by ‘throw your hips’ when learning to stop. But if you’ve ever been there for that moment, you understand. Beginnings are where the most magic is revealed.
I am excited to help expose youth hockey magic in New Jersey as part of this wonderful site. Hello to all of you! I hope we will have a great time talking hockey and promoting the grassroots levels of this amazing sport!
~ Vanessa Perry firstname.lastname@example.org
PS: I’m not going to be able to do this alone. So, I’m hoping lots of my fellow Garden Staters will point me towards some interesting youth hockey goings on and some newsworthy stories or events.