by Shelby Howard ‘19
As the Battle Hymn of the Republic plays in the Gardner Rink, the girls of winter skate out onto the ice. This is one of many great traditions of St. Mark’s Girls JV Ice Hockey. Senior captains Brynn Kennedy and Rebecca Lovett are four-year members of the team, who are proud pioneers of the program. This team is built from girls who have a passion for the sport, which is fostered by coaches Bernt and Eslick. Coach Eslick is new to the team, replacing Mr. Upton's one year stint as assistant coach, and he has already taught the players some invaluable rules of the sport. Coach Berndt is entering her seventh season as JV Girls Hockey coach and is a maternal figure for many of the players, including her biological daughter Zoe Maddox. But when the girls take the ice on game day she shows her lion spirit as she gets the girls prepared for the tough fight ahead of them.
Every week, the team battles in an intense scrimmage in preparation for game day. Practice begins and ends every day with a dance party. Then, when it is game day, the girls scream in the locker room before they take the ice. Key defensive players include Rebecca Lovett and Kate Normandin. Mary Hoffman and Mary Flathers are skilled players on the second line, and Brynn Kennedy and Sarah Lammert are a threat to any opponent’s defense. Together, the team has an aggressive, hard-working style of play.
Another tradition of the team is the annual Hockey Olympics, which includes intense events such as; relay races, speed skating, and the choreographed synchronized skating competition. The girls are split up into three teams, in hopes to lay their hands on the winning title.
JV Hockey is a force to be reckoned with, and at the end of the day, the girls skate off the ice as sisters rather than teammates. Rebecca Lovett epitomizes this sisterhood by saying, “I love JV hockey with all of my heart and soul.”