Ellinore’s Shamrocks U-14 team is playing the 28th annual Connecticut Polar Bears Holiday Invitational this week. We are in Southington, Connecticut, playing our games at the beautiful Taft School in Waterbury. There are 140 teams (over 2500 players) from across the US and Canada in the tourney.
One of the challenges playing on a team that only gets together a few times a year is playing on a team that only gets together a few times a year: and in the first game, the passes don’t connect, and the players do not seem to be anticipating where to be as the game unfolds. Most of the girls traveled down from northern Vermont, and the long drive might be part of the problem. The result is a first round loss to a team from Massachusetts.
We are playing in the beautiful Odden rink. And Mark and Ellie have a new lens, which allows for clearer images of play. Two varsity ice hockey coaches are at the rink on Friday morning to watch Ellie play; and after the game (a loss again, this time 1-2, to a team we would on most days handle easily) she talks with Molly (VA) and Ted (NMH) about school next year. We will attend games at both schools in the coming month so that Ellie can get a better sense of the hockey programs as she considers her choices for next year.
And then after two losses (that will most likely put us out of the semifinals on Sunday) the girls are back on the ice on Friday evening to play the undefeated Connecticut Northern Lights. It is as if a different team shows up. We are hustling. We are passing. And we dominate play for three periods, skating to a 6-1 win.