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“I think you should come play goalie for Jess’ hockey team.” That’s how my friend Jeff got my hockey ‘career’ started. I was 31, had NEVER played hockey, and growing up in southeastern New Mexico, had only been on ice skates a handful of times in my life! I thought he was nuts and told him so, but he convinced me that the skating was secondary and that my prowess at video games (one of our favorite hobbies at the time) proved that I had the eye-hand coordination needed to play goalie. The 13 years that followed have rewarded me with some of the best and most rewarding times of my life.
First of all, it turned out that I LOVED, and I mean LOVED, playing goalie. The first two and a half years I was always in the net…for everyone! I would play for the women, coed and even the men a couple of times when they were desperate.  I couldn’t get enough, and I was learning so much and improving every time I stepped on the ice. It’s a rare experience to get that kind of physical and mental challenge as an adult, so I played every time I had the chance. After that first rush of the challenges of goalie, I occasionally started stepping out of the net and skating as a defenseman, still protecting the net, but also sometimes getting a chance to take a shot on goal (though rarely scoring).  Now its 13 years later and I still skate on occasion, I just skated in a women’s tournament in Midway, BC, but that burning desire to be on the ice every chance I got has been replaced with the knowledge that, as an adult, I gained a new skill that will allow me to stay active in a team sport for the foreseeable future. More importantly, though are the long-time relationships that are developed in women’s hockey. We certainly have our more dramatic moments, as anyone involved in the sport will admit, but by and large, when I look at the faces of my friends, from my closest inner circle, to those I only run into on rare occasions, I probably first saw them behind the cage of a hockey helmet.