BY RANDY SCHULTZ—
This is a story about a single mom and her three daughters. What makes this story unique is that this is more than a mother/daughter relationship.
For two of the daughters it is a player/coach relationship. A third daughter will eventually join her sister and mother in another year, but more on that later.
Nicola Adimey is the head coach of the CASH (Clarence/Amherst/Sweet Home) girls high school ice hockey team. Two of the players she coached this past season were her daughters, Casey (who was a senior and a captain on the team) and Lilli (a freshman) Adimey. Both are students at Amherst High School.
Last season saw CASH make it all the way to the Western New York Girls Varsity Ice Hockey Federation championship game before losing to Frontier/Lancaster/Orchard Park (FLOP). Not bad for a team that finished third in the seven-team league with a 9-4-1 record.
The 2017-18 campaign also saw Nicola as the only female head coach in the WNYGVIHF. But there is more to her story.
Nicola never began playing organized hockey until she was 14. In Germany.
“Things are organized differently in Germany,” said Nicola, who was born and raised in Germany. “There is no school hockey or college hockey. It is only club hockey.”
Nicola arrived in the United States in 2000. It didn’t take long for her to get involved in the amateur hockey scene.
“When Casey was six I began coaching in Amherst Youth Hockey League,” continued Nicola, a native of Schifferstadt, Germany. “I continued coaching in Amherst when Lilli began playing.
“Casey eventually moved over to the Bisons organization and joined her older sister who had started playing there three years earlier. I ended up coaching with the Bisons for a year.”
Why did Nicola get involved with coaching?
“I love the game of hockey and I wanted to be involved with the game,” replied Nicola. “And when you have kids you hope they will eventually love the same sport you love.
“I began coaching back in Germany when I was 18. I was working with the five to seven year olds and teaching them how to skate. I really enjoy working with that age group because they are a lot of fun.
“I try to get the kids excited and to love the game of hockey. I hope my excitement for the game rubs off on the kids I’m coaching.”
So how difficult is it coaching your daughters?
“I try to be careful,” responded Nicola. “I never want anyone to think that my daughters have an advantage over the other players on the team.
“Occasionally when they are on the bench, they may yell over to me calling, ‘mom, mom,’ to get my attention. My assistant coaches will sometimes jokingly tell them to leave their mother alone.
“With the experiences I had with Casey and Lilli with Amherst and the Bisons, they were quite used to me being on the bench as their coach.”
Single mom. Hockey coach. Working full-time. Three daughters. How does she do it?
“You have to be organized,” was Nicola’s simple response.
Casey admits that it was an interesting situation having her mom as her coach in high school.
“It really wasn’t a problem,” said Casey, who will be attending and playing hockey at the University of Massachusetts-Boston this Fall. “I don’t think any of my teammates really cared. They looked at my mom as their coach.
“I will miss her this Fall when I go off to college.”
Lilli enjoyed the experience of not only having her mom as her coach but playing on the same team as her older sister.
“I really liked having my mom as my coach,” replied Lilli, who will be going into 10th grade this year. “She has always been my coach.
“And I liked being able to play with my sister as well.”
Nicola admits that she wasn’t sure what it was going to be like to have two daughters playing together on the same team.
“I was excited,” said Nicola. “They were too far apart in age to be on the same travel team.
“I wasn’t sure what to expect. But I found that Casey elevated Lilli’s game. It was an interesting dynamic.”
Nicola will only have one daughter on the CASH team this season with Casey going off to college. But there is a third daughter, Maya, waiting in the wings to take her place. But that won’t be for at least another year.
Does Nicola consider herself a pioneer of sorts in the coaching field?
“Not really,” answered Nicola. “Although I know when I walk into certain rinks the head coach from the other team (usually a male) will walk right past me and shake hands with my assistants (who are male).
“But that really doesn’t bother me. I find it kind of funny.
“But I have found that as a woman you definitely have to prove yourself. I’ve watched women’s and girl’s hockey grow over the years.
“That has always been my goal, to help girls and women’s hockey grow. And they seem to keep getting better and better each year.
“I’m just glad to be a part of it.”
(Photo by Janet Schultz)