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.
continued Because of the rarity of girls hockey teams in CNY, however – most of the teams are from the Buffalo area and up in the North Country such as Canton and Potsdam – the sport is, in some ways, the unknown sport in Skaneateles.
“Half the people in my school probably don’t know I play hockey,” said DuBean.
“I played last year too, and one day my teacher asked me if I play on the boys team,” Singler added.
“I don’t think most people know about the team,” said Robyn Bentley-Graham, President of the Girls Varsity Hockey Booster Club. “People still say, ‘Oh, really? You have a team?’ In Skaneateles it’s a bit more known, but its surprising that in this area its not big high school sport.”
Bentley-Graham, whose daughter Samantha is on the team, has been involved in the sport here in Skaneateles since the beginning.
“I got involved when I moved back to the area [in 2004] to help drive the movement to get girls hockey as a varsity sport, and to eventually get the school to support the self-funded team. Quite a few others in town really put a lot of volunteer hours in to make this possible,” Bentley-Graham said.
The role of the boosters club is to support the team, mainly financially. The school district pays for ice time for after-school practices, but most every other cost for the sport -- warm ups, food on the road, hotels, bus drivers, coaching expenses, and player equipment – is funded by the boosters and the players themselves.
Travel expenses make up a huge part of the budget, Bentley-Graham said. Since there are so few girls varsity hockey teams in the area, the Lady Lakers travel all over the state to play, and spend anywhere from one to five hours on the road traveling to games.