BY RANDY SCHULTZ—
No matter if the Lancaster/Iroquois/Depew (LID) girl’s varsity hockey team is on the ice playing or practicing or off the ice working out, there is a good chance you will find Michelle Lysinski very close by. Michelle doesn’t have an official title but she is there for the athletes.
Lysinski is the 2018 recipient of the Rusin Award. It is an award given out by the Western New York Girls Varsity Ice Hockey Federation in memory of the late Dr. James Rusin, former athletic director of the Williamsville Central School District for 33 years.
The award honors the dedication and commitment of an individual to Girls Varsity Ice Hockey in Western New York. To anyone who knows Lysinski, this award fits her perfectly.
To say that she was surprised to win the award this year would be an understatement. In fact Michelle was so touched by winning the award that she became quite emotional when asked how she felt about winning the award.
“It means a lot to me,” commented a very teary-eyed Lysinski. “To be a part of such a well-oiled machine like this league has become is very rewarding.
“The league was small with just a number of girls playing the game. But now it has grown and there are so many girls coming out to play.”
So just what does Lysinski do for the LID girls hockey team?
“I book the ice, do public relations, order things for the girls, keep the girls in line, making sure the girls are where they are supposed to be, making sure the coaches are supposed to be where they are supposed to be,” answered Lysinski, all in one breath. “It’s behind the scenes managerial off-ice duties.”
One thing that has become apparent with all of the teams in the WNYGVIHF is that because there is a combination of schools to make up a team, it is important that they come together like a family. And family is very important to Lysinski.
“Family is important in every sport,” remarked Lysinski, who is a teacher’s aid at Lancaster High School. “These girls are away from their families a portion of the time.
“We even try to eat together as a team. We try to make it a healthy meal.
“These girls on LID are very close. We have seventh graders, we have seniors and everybody in between. They all care for each other.”
In addition to her duties with LID, Lysinski is married to Stan and they have two boys, Cody and Jake. She is a hockey mom as well.
But in the end there is only one bottom line for Michelle.
“I love being with the kids,” she concluded. “I just love kids.”
And there is no question that those kids love her.
(Photo by Janet Schultz)