Spotlight in Sports Features: Binghamton BlizzardsPosted: Updated:
Hockey can sometimes be known as a violent and hard sport for people to play, let alone girls or women. But for one all-girl organization, hockey is more than a sport, it's a way of life and tradition.
The Binghamton Blizzard organization has existed for over 20 years, beginning with one team of girls from the ages of 9 to 17. It currently hosts three teams; 8-year-old and under (development), 11-year-old and under, and 13-year-old and under.
The fact that the Blizzards have continued to exist, according to 8U Head Coach Tim Miller, is a testament to the tradition of hockey in the Southern Tier since the Binghamton Dusters were a team.
"This is a hockey town. Girls see their brothers or parents playing hockey and they have interests in it. So they come out and try it...and once they try it they get hooked," said Tim Miller.
And for three Binghamton Blizzard players, the motto of "like father like daughter" really rang true to their hearts.
"My dad really liked hockey when he was little, so he taught me all the moves and I liked it," said Finley.
"When I was little I played with my dad's hockey stick and it was so much fun," said Megan.
"My dad loved hockey. I just liked to play it with him," said Fern.
Although hockey is typically known as a men's sport, the Blizzard girls chose to live out there dreams on the ice instead of the typical female sports, doing what they love...hockey.
"It's really fun to play and there's a lot of friends you can make. And it's really so much fun," said Megan.
Learning the basics of hockey and the foundation of teamwork, these young girls are just a few of the lives that have been touched by the ice. Johnson City Wildcats' Rebecca and Jenna Reynolds are two girls that have first-hand knowledge of all-girl hockey teams.
Rebecca is currently the starting goalie for the JC Wildcats high school hockey team. Alongside her offensive/defensive player and sister Jenna, Rebecca Reynolds transitioned from all-girls hockey, to hitting the ice every week alongside her male teammates and competing to be 'one of the best.'
"I started off on the Blizzards, I was on that team for years. [Transitioning] was incredible. Guys are much faster than girls, but girls are much stronger," laughed Rebecca Reynolds.
But success on the ice, comes with discovering if hockey is a true passion. Many girls decide to leave after a few years on the Blizzards, and keeping the organization together has been difficult in past years.
"We're the only 'all girls only' organization in the area. It's tough being all-girls, but in the last seven years we've seen an increase in participation," said Tim Miller.
The Blizzards said they hope to expand another team or two in the upcoming years, if participation continues to increase.
If you or anyone you know would like to inquire on becoming a part of the Binghamton Blizzard organization, registration can be done by clicking here.
Binghamton Blizzard is also holding a Pancake Breakfast fundraiser at Applebees, on Upper Front St, from 8 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. Proceeds will benefit the Blizzard's equipment, maintenance and ice-time rental. Anyone attending the event will be served breakfast by a smiling Blizzard player, thankful for your donation.