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Girls varsity hockey growing, looks toward playoffs

The Skaneateles Lady Lakers varsity girls hockey team has grown in talent and community support in its three years as a sanctioned high school team, but remains a bit unknown in town. The team has two more home games to play before playoffs begin Feb. 1.

The Skaneateles Lady Lakers varsity girls hockey team has grown in talent and community support in its three years as a sanctioned high school team, but remains a bit unknown in town. The team has two more home games to play before playoffs begin Feb. 1.

— After years of funding by parents and booster organizations, and much hard work in creating a self-sustaining team, the Skaneateles Board of Education approved the girls varsity hockey team as an official, sustainable district athletic program for the 2008-09 school year.

In 2010, the school board approved allowing players from other school districts to join the team.

“It was really an evolution,” said Dove, who now limits her participation to timekeeper and scorekeeper for the team’s games. “It started with youth hockey, then a group of people, parents, tried to create a high school team. That went for one year, failed, then came back three years ago.”

This year, the Lady Lakes have 24 players on the team ranging from grades 7 through 12 and hailing from seven different school districts: Skaneateles, Marcellus, Baldwinsville, Solvay, Auburn, Port Byron, West Genesee and Christian Brothers Academy.

“We represent Skaneateles but this team is so much more than that,” said co-captain Nine Elia. “You feel like you’re representing all of Central New York or Syracuse.”

“We’re best friends; we’re like a big family,” said co-captain Erin Ganley, a Baldwinsville senior.

Maddie DuBean, a senior at Marcellus and co-assistant captain, agreed. “We have a great team with a different dynamic. As one of the older girls, I look carefully at what I do to influence the younger players.”

Girls hockey is the same as boys hockey, with the only exception being that no checking is allowed. This actually makes the game harder in some ways because a player can’t just hit someone against the boards and steal the puck. It’s more about fast skating and skillful stick angling, said Elia.

“A girls’ game is much faster, a higher-speed game,” said Singler.

“Oh yes, these girls can play hockey,” said Major. “They play hockey extremely well.”

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