Hockey is a hands-on sport that most people view as a male dominated game, but here at Colorado State University women are given the equal opportunity to play this rough game.
Freshman Nellie Brown, a double major in metal-smithing and business marketing, has given her heart to the sport of hockey for over a decade. As a new student, Brown has already found a home within the womenâ€™s hockey team.
“I am from a small ski town called Sun Valley in Idaho. I played youth hockey in Idaho and for the girls’ high school team. My whole family plays hockey and soccer. I picked both sports up because they were available and I had a lot of influence from my brothers to play. I also just loved it once I knew how to play, and once I could actually skate. I have been playing hockey since I was 5 years oldâ€ said Brown.
When she joined CSU halfway through the year, she became part of the family that is now the CSU womenâ€™s hockey team. She proudly wears number 26.
â€œIt has been amazing. Although I only joined halfway through the year I felt like a part of the team instantly. We traveled to Aspen Colo., Colorado Springs, Denver, and Grand Rapids, Mich. The team also traveled to Buffalo, N.Y. and Chicago earlier in the year. Our season went okay. We came out even in our score, so we won and lost the same amount of games. But next year we are hoping to do much betterâ€ said Brown.
Before Brown officially became a Ram, she was welcomed onto the womenâ€™s hockey team, and was given the opportunity to get closer to the members and learn their styles on the ice.
â€œI got to play in a tournament, before I was actually on the team, with a bunch of the girls. It was such a great experience because it gave me an opportunity to see if I was good enough to play, and it also gave me a chance to get to know the team before I tried out. I also had opportunities to practice with the team before I came here, and that was a great way for me to feel welcome on the teamâ€ said Brown.
The menâ€™s and womenâ€™s teams have a few differences in the way they play the game. Sometimes members of the men’s team will come and assist at the womenâ€™s practices.
â€œSince we are different club teams we don’t do much together, but sometimes some of the guys will come and help out at our practices. The only technical difference between men and women’s hockey is that men can check and women can’t. Although it is for “our protection” you will find that many female hockey players would rather play check hockeyâ€ said Brown.
Her first semester as a Ram has already made an impact on her life and her college experience. Brown plans to stay on as a member of the womenâ€™s hockey team for the remainder of her CSU college career.
â€œI absolutely plan on playing next year. Of course I will have to work my butt off for tryouts, but I can’t wait. I have already learned not to take myself or the game too seriously, and that playing a sport you love is about having fun, and not winning every game. Don’t get me wrong, winning is great, but the CSU girls team has already taught me that you can still have a great time even if you loseâ€ said Brown.
Claire Tegl a sophomore, but a rookie to the hockey team this year has been able to take the qualities that Brown has brought to the rink and apply it to her own skating.
â€œNellie brought a competitive attitude, and a bright smile every day to the rink and she was very influential in the teamâ€™s successes in the spring semester! Nellie coming from a place that isnâ€™t a big hockey state really proves that if you are determined you can become an incredible athleteâ€ said Tegl.