Women On Ice
To the casual observer, the rigors of minor league hockey seem relentless and unforgiving. Early morning practices, Sunday evening games, all with few if any spectators to celebrate their sacrifice. Though deep down, the women in this gallery share a love for the game and the military-style camaraderie it has instilled in them. Transcending age, origin, and occupation, hockey has galvanized in them a shared sense of purpose and responsibility, over and above their already demanding lives. And they would have it no other way.
NICOLE FARINA, 36, Compliance Manager / Center
“Growing up, one of my favorite things was to practice shooting plastic pucks with my dad in the basement, usually during the narrow window between dinner and the start of the Bruins game. I also played plenty of street and pond hockey with my friends. I had a great run of Squirt and Peewee youth hockey, but once I hit high school, options for girls in my area were limited and, sadly, I had to give it up. It always felt like something was missing, and it never quite left me.
Fast forward 17 years to 2011, when the Bruins Stanley Cup championship reignited the hockey fire. In a twist of fate, I stumbled into the South Shore Women’s Hockey League—a whole world of recreational and competitive women’s hockey that I didn’t know existed! Soon after being back in the game, I co-founded our team, the Crush Hockey Club. The Crush is made up of some of the best and most badass women I know, ranging in age from 20s to 50s. On the ice, we are one.
Over the past few years, this team has become like family to me. (In fact, one of them actually is! I’m privileged to play with my “little” cousin Caroline, who towers over me by at least 6 inches.) Our teammates have helped each other land new jobs, find new homes, and move to and from said homes; we’ve cultivated unwavering friendships, taken vacations together, and supported each other through life’s challenges. I am proud to be on a team with such an inspirational group of women.”
FIONA MORAN, 22, Mechanical Engineer / Center
“I started playing hockey in 8th grade. I always liked team sports, and ice hockey just clicked; there's something about stepping onto a fresh sheet of ice that's optimistically invigorating. But I'm still playing nine years later because of the people, especially this team. I've made lifelong friends because of the sport, and I'll keep playing as long as they're around.”
SAMMY RUSS, 31, Assembler for Meditronics / Wing
“I watched my dad play hockey and saw his love for the game, which made me want to try it. I did and fell in love; it’s been my passion for years. I’m in my own world when I play, all my worries and stress disappear. I love hockey and I won’t stop playing till my heart stops.”
TARA DIAB, 54, Carpenter/Furniture maker / Defense
“As a kid, I idolized and wanted to be just like, my dad who had been drafted by the Bruins in 1941. He played for them for six months, but joined the Air Force and went on to be a fighter pilot during WWll instead. Had he stayed, he would have been part of the ‘41 Bruins Stanley Cup team. In my quest to emulate my dad I played pond hockey in the white figure skates my mom made me wear because hockey skates were “only for boys.”
Fast forward to age 38... I returned to hockey as winter cross-training for rowing and fell as intensely in love with hockey as I had with rowing and now do both year round. Hockey is the perfect combination of personal strength and intense teamwork that drives me to keep getting better and learning. I love watching women’s hockey grow in popularity and empower young girls to be strong, independent and powerful.”
MEGAN WILEY, 33, Clinical Social Worker / Wing
“I started skating at age 5, following a line of family hockey players and ice skaters. To me, playing hockey is a form of exercise that allows me to work together with incredible women and feel strong, gritty, and powerful.”
CAROLINE DIPAULO, 27, Autism Specialist for Somerville Public Schools / Defense
“I was first introduced to the game after a sleepover with an elementary school friend. I spent the day in the stands cheering her on during one of the Charles River League games and returned home begging my parents to let me play. At the start of my 6th grade school year, my dad found a local league, and I immediately joined, excited to join the hockey life. Growing up I was a year-round athlete, playing multiple sports, but ended up focusing solely on hockey and strengthening my skills. I continued playing through high school and college in Arizona where I coached a mites team. Returning to the East Coast I was excited to play alongside my cousin Nicole. Over the many years that I have spent on the ice I have created lifelong friendships and have been inspired to pursue my love and passion for the game.”
DANIELLE FUNK, 27, Manager of Health Informatics Fenway Health /Defense
“One of my favorite things about hockey is community—there's something unique about hockey compared to other sports, and that’s especially true for women’s hockey since girls’ programs are still relatively young. There’s a different kind of appreciation that’s shared when you meet other women/girls that play hockey—like an unspoken bond. It’s empowering to lace up with women of all ages, and it’s fun to run into players that you’ve skated with or against in earlier years.”
PATRICIA MALLEY, 32, Attorney / Wing
“I started playing ice hockey again last year after a 13-year hiatus. There is nothing better than hearing the crisp sound of skates against the ice and feeling the burn in your lungs after skating your heart out for a shift. More importantly, the true beauty of hockey is that it brings together women of all ages and allows them to excel in a sport that for years was dominated by men. I’m proud to participate in a sport that challenges gender stereotypes and teaches young girls that they are capable of anything.”
GINNY NOLAN, 27, Consultant/Recruiter / Defense
“I started skating very young. My dad wanted my brother and me to learn to skate. My brother played hockey and since I wanted to be just like him, I played too. Though he moved on to other sports I developed a real passion for hockey and continued to play through high school. I’ve always loved hockey and I’m so glad I returned to it, making lifelong friends and enjoying team camaraderie.”