The Minority Report: Life on Ice



Seventeen years of hockey, four years as a Colgate student athlete, countless hours on ice, in locker rooms and on the road have all led up to this weekend. I’ve always found that if hockey has the opportunity to be dramatic, it will be. In style and in epic sport heroism, this weekend Colgate Women’s Ice Hockey will play for their lives and, for the seniors, their careers.

The summation of a season, of a life of hockey, all down to two games, both terrifying and exhilarating, it seems only appropriate given what we sacrifice in order to compete. At the Division I level, hockey becomes all consuming, a complete lifestyle. We play 34 regular season games not including playoffs. We begin practicing in late August and do not stop (going through fall and winter break) until late February. This year we have had ten road trips, all about five hours each way, and on top of it all we are students, too.

If you need something done, give it to a busy person. If you need something done well and efficiently, give it to a Colgate Women’s Ice Hockey player. I have seen teammates read neurology textbooks between bike sprints. I’ve seen flashcards shake while we withstand the unbearable chill of a cold tub. And I know the exact gulping nauseated face of a teammate as they write about modernity in the dark caverns of a Birnie Bus.

We all share the same story. We tagged along with our brothers, neighbors or cousins; we played in boys leagues, where we were asked to change in the ref’s room or in the car before we got to the rink. When hitting was introduced, our mothers begged us to stop because for some reason if you had a ponytail under your helmet, that made you a target. We grew up in our parent’s cars driving from rink to rink, missed dances and graduations and sacrificed enormous amounts of our youth all for the love of the game.

Hours and hours spent together, often literally side by side – and I find I know my teammates like I know myself. And it is this camaraderie, this mutual strength and effort that defines our level of competition. We love this team and we love this game – otherwise there would no fun in it, no chance at success. The beauty of our league this year is that anyone could win any game on any day. There are no clear favorites, no shoe-ins. Every game is a battle, a test of wills and that’s what this weekend will be – with the added emotion of what is at stake for six seniors.

I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve watched Remember the Titans or A League of Their Own. The hours I’ve spent at hockey camps and training facilities, constant reminders that when you rest, your opponent is getting better. I used to see this as a threat, the fear that sent me back every day, but now, nearing the end of my career, having spent all this time on ice with my teammates and friends, I’ve learned that it is no longer about the opponent, it’s about us.

And now, as a senior, aching, exhausted and with this sense of impending expiry, this weekend becomes bittersweet, this amazing opportunity to say that I left it all on the ice and finished with no regrets. My parents will come and see me play like they have a thousand times, but this time maybe my mother will yell “Skate” a little louder, maybe my friends will paint their stomachs (hint, hint), maybe I’ll feel like I did when I first began playing, when my dad would tie my skates as I napped against his shoulder, nudging me gently and handing me my weapon.