This time last February, the Bowdoin’s women’s ice hockey team was closing out their season after a long winter of practices and games. But this year, the team has faced—and is still facing—a multitude of challenges, such as having players living all across the United States.
In a Zoom interview with the Orient, team leader Madeline Carlson ’21 described how the team has managed to stay connected over the fall and winter despite their inability to practice together or see each other.
“We have Zoom meetings maybe once every two weeks or so. A lot of these have been conversations about diversity and inclusivity, but the conversations have also been about ‘what have you been up to’ and playing virtual games.”
Peyton Mulhern ’23 elaborated on the effectiveness of virtual meetings.
“It’s really cool listening to everyone talk about their different experiences, and that’s kind of just to get to know each other better. We’ve also been doing some diversity work. Last week we did a report on a civil rights activist, and we shared it out with the team and had small group discussions about that,” said Mulhern in a Zoom interview with the Orient.
These small group discussions are crucial for the team—all but one of the first years are either taking a gap year or learning virtually.
“We’re trying to get to know [the first years] through Zoom and build a team culture for next year,” said Mulhern.“We’re also trying to create a culture that’s inclusive and that we can move forward from what we’ve learned.”
Despite these virtual meetings, it’s been tough for many on the team to stay engaged since they have not been able to practice together.
“We haven’t really had any virtual practices or anything like that just because the sport of ice hockey really—it’s very hindered by the fact of not having ice time,” Carlson said. “Some of my other friends who are on rugby have had some more virtual practices or things like that.”
Nevertheless, many team members have been staying active in a variety of ways.
“Some of my teammates have been trying to find ice time where they can, whether it’s open ice time or just a community rink or something like that, just to lace up the skates,” Carlson said.
Luckily, with many of the team’s upperclass students back on campus, they can finally get back to doing what they love: playing hockey together. The team is starting practices on February 22, though they began informally playing before that date.
“We’ve actually been skating on the pond on the quad a lot,” Mulhern said. “We’ve been going out and scrimmaging a little bit, which has been pretty fun, because we’re not allowed to use the rink yet. It’s been good to get out there.”
In this strange year, the team’s goals are not to achieve success on the rink, but instead to stay unified as a team.
“I just want us to stay positive through all this … with COVID and not being able to play, [with] losing a season. I think just staying strong and remembering that we’re all here for each other is real important,” Mulhern said.