Each week I use this platform to bring you closer to people connected with hockey. Today I’m going to hand out a few kudos.
I just had the wonderful opportunity to cover the New York State Girls High School Ice Hockey Championship held on the SUNY Oswego campus in Oswego, NY. I watched high school girls from four teams from four different sections of New York State play to determine a championship team.
First shout goes out to the Frontier/Lake Shore/Orchard Park team (better known in WNY as FLOP) that won the championship. This is the first girls ice hockey team representing Section VI to win a State Title.
This team was focused. I covered the team last year when they lost to Skaneateles, 5-1, in the championship game. FLOP’s head coach, Bob Klimowicz, is the person who kept these girls focused all season.
“From the first day of practice this year, these girls were on a mission,” said Klimowicz. “I told them that we had some unfinished business to take care of this year and that was to go back to the State’s and win.”
Well, FLOP went out and did just that. To the FLOP team: MISSON ACCOMPLISHED!
–My second shout goes out to the fans from Salmon River. I’m “green” with envy regarding these fans, with “green” being the key word. Dark green and white are the school’s colors.
Salmon River is a small community located at the eastern tip of Lake Ontario in Fort Covington, NY. But when Salmon River fans showed up at the Marano Campus Center they came en masse. I was told by those familiar with the “Shamrocks” and their fans, this is not unusual.
It’s not just moms and dads showing up. It’s grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and friends who made the journey to show their support for their team.
And you knew they were there. They were very passionate fans. They stood. They cheered. Even when their team lost in the championship game.
So to those 250-plus fans who were there for your team, my hats off to you.
–My third kudo goes to FLOP fans who were on hand for the FLOP girls’ hockey team when they arrived back on in the parking lot of Orchard Park High School. With a local fire truck escort leading the way and with fire trucks and emergency vehicle’s sirens blasting and lights flashing, forming a victory path for the team bus to enter, FLOP fans really gave the players something they will remember the rest of their lives.
–My fourth kudo goes out to a trio of people including Rick Hopkins, Bill Pavone and Janet Schultz. This trio were the only ones in the crowd at Oswego who were there when the WNY Girls Ice Hockey Federation was formed. They were there when the Girls Ice Hockey Fed was only a thought.
They have promoted Section VI Girls Ice Hockey since Day 1. They’ve seen it all. And now they have seen a Section VI team with a State Title.
–To those who experienced this championship weekend, PLEASE enjoy it. Embrace the moment.
State Championships may only come once-in-a-lifetime. But when it comes, you will remember it forever.
Until next time,