BY RANDY SCHULTZ—
“Sister Act” was a movie that came out in 1992 starring Whoopi Goldberg.
These days there is a different type of “Sister Act” going on with the Frontier/Lancaster/Orchard Park, better known a FLOP, girl’s varsity hockey team. Some may even call it a “Triple Sister Act.”
Three sets of sisters play for the newly crowned New York State Girls Varsity Hockey Champion FLOP team. They include Mary and Emily Kromer, Sirena and Emery Fitzery, and Julia and Jessica Peters.
“I’ve been playing hockey since I was five,” said Mary, 15 and a sophomore at Lakeshore High School. “I started playing after I saw my two older sisters playing hockey on the ice,”
“I began when I was about four or five,” recalled Emily, 17 and a senior at Lakeshore High School. “But Mary and I didn’t start playing travel until we were about 10.”
So how long have the Kromer sisters, the daughters of Mike and Tracy Kromer, been playing hockey together?
“Because of our age difference, it’s been an every other year type situation for travel hockey,” stated Mary, a forward. “We’ve played together for two years now on the high school team.”
Younger sister Mary enjoys the time she spends with older sister, Emily.
“You don’t feel alone when you are practicing or travelling together. It can be a pain sometimes, but for the most part it really is great.”
Emily was quick to point out an every more interesting situation with FLOP.
“FLOP is unique in the fact that Mary and I are on the same line together,” commented Emily, also a forward. “I think being on the same line for the school team is pretty awesome because we do work well together.
“Our styles of play compliment each other. Mary is more the goal scorer and I am more the assist person. “
“We can also vent with each other plus we can build off of each others strength and weaknesses.”
“It kind of surprised us when coach put us together,” added Mary. “We had always wanted to try and play on the same line but in travel it never happened.”
Mary also talked about the duo’s rides home following games.
“Mary is the reserved one,” said Emily. “She keeps me level headed.
“I voice how I’m feeling and Mary just kind of goes with the flow.”
What do the Kromer’s think about the fact that there are three sets of sisters on the team?
“It’s a family affair,” answered Emily. “I think it molds us together because we have that sisterly bond.
“We have a family with the three sets of sisters but we are also a family as a team,”
For the Peters sisters, Jessica and Julia, you might say that hockey was a natural sport for them to play.
“My two older brothers played, so I was at the rink anyhow,” said Jessica, 16, and a junior at Orchard Park High School. “I was four. It helped that we had a rink in our backyard and we could practice there too.”
“Our parents (Don and Angela Peters) played the game as well, which really helped,” added Julia, 12 and a seventh grader at Orchard Park Middle School.
So what is it like playing together on the same team, especially with a four-year age difference?
“It’s a challenge,” joked Jessica. “Julia is always asking me questions like what to do, what to wear all the time.
“I remember what it was like when I was a seventh grader. I didn’t know what to do at that time.
“I do protect her when she’s on the ice. She is young and small.
“We do get along, but we are sisters,” Jessica added with a laugh.
Julie looks at it a bit differently.
“It’s fun to play hockey with your older sister,” said Julia. “It’s nice to have someone that I’m really close to on the team.
“It helps too that she drives so I can get rides from her.”
Interestingly, the Peters sisters have known another set of sisters on the FLOP team for quite some time.
“We’ve known the Kromer sisters for a long time and have played hockey with and against them,” remarked Jessica. “I think it’s kind of cool, yet unique, that we have three sets of sisters on the same team. You don’t see that too often on teams.”
For the Fitzery sisters, it was a tale of two different beginnings. Sirena was nine years old when she began playing hockey, while younger sister, Emery was all of 13 months.
“I got into it because my brother was playing it,” remarked Sirena, 17, and a senior at Frontier Central High School. “I was originally a cheerleader and would go to his games.
“I finally said, ‘hey, I want to try this’ and got involved with hockey as a player.”
“I got on the ice because everyone else was on the ice,” said Emery. “My parents got me on the ice at a very early age and I’ve been on it ever since.”
The Fitzery sisters enjoy being on the team together.
“I kind of like it because I can boss her around a little bit,” said Sirena, with a laugh. “I think it’s cool too because I can show her what to do at times.”
Emery agrees with the second comment.
“I like it because she (Sirena) can show me different things and answer questions that I have,” stated Emery.
Emery added another point.
“I’m good friends with Julia (Peters) and it’s great that we’re both in seventh grade and both have older sisters playing on the same team,” commented Emery. “It gives us something to talk about.”
Sirena admits that things can get a bit confusing with three sets of sisters on the team, especially with the coaches.
“They will call us by our last name, and we’ll say, ‘which one,’” remarked Sirena. “It can be confusing, but it’s still fun.
“We’re all one big family.”
So how does FLOP head coach, Bob Klimowicz, feel about having three sets of sisters on his team? After all, he’s the guy who had to make the final cuts.
“It’s nice to be able to have seventh graders on the team because that’s how we got the three pairs of sisters,” commented Klimowicz. “And it’s pretty good that I could put sisters together on the same line and have it work.
“And to pair up sisters to play defense is pretty cool too. The personalities of each of the sisters have worked well together.
“The sisters have worked well together with the overall concept of our team being one big family. It has been successful.”
With a NYS Girls High School Hockey Championship under their belt, saying that the family concept has worked is quite the understatement.