By Mia Schenenga
As the fall sports season draws to a close, winter sports teams are just beginning to prepare for their season, hopeful that they will be able to play at least a shortened season this year. This includes basketball, ice hockey, and indoor track among others, but when most people think of winter sports, girls ice hockey is not one that immediately comes to mind.
However, while girls hockey may not be one of the most popular sports, a group of EGHS students joins with athletes from both Cranston East and Cranston West to form the Thunderbirds, a co-op girls ice hockey team among the schools. This team competes at a varsity level, in the Rhode Island Interscholastic League with just seven other teams, all but one of which are functioning as a co-op between three schools.
This year will certainly look different than past years, as the co-op team would typically practice every day after school at the Cranston Veterans Memorial Ice Rink, beginning the Monday after Thanksgiving. I know all of the athletes that are participating this year, including myself, are hoping that somehow, someway, there will be a winter season for hockey this year. Captain Ireleigh Bucci, a senior from EGHS, comments that she is “very hopeful” for this season. “I love the determination and positive attitude that each player gives off,” she says. “We’re all hoping to be able to play and do it safely.”
While the Thunderbirds didn’t have a particularly amazing record last season, there is a true camaraderie among the players found through their love of the game. Even though it brings together athletes from three different schools, this team is one like no other.
This year, five seniors from EGHS will be playing: Ireleigh Bucci, Maya Maguire, Mollie Conville, Rosa Caliri, and Chase Hirshorn. EG is also bringing a few underclassmen into the mix, including sophomores Fiona Baxter, Jeremi Morrison, Davin Phinney, and me, Mia Schenenga, as well as freshman Celia Caliri.
With a large group of seniors athletes having graduated last season, Davin Phinney comments that she thinks “it’s going to be a year of growth, but also a lot of fun.” She continues, “I’m really hopeful that we get a season, even if it’s late. If we are out there on the ice, I’ll be extremely thankful. I know our team will take on these new circumstances in the best way possible, and come together this year more than ever with hopes of getting on the ice.”
The team has big goals for this year, for progress in on-ice skills and in their determination and desire to compete. As we move towards hockey season, the Thunderbirds are holding onto hope that the team can get on the ice this year, in a way that is fun and competitive, yet also safe.