By Sharon Enck
It is the dream of a lot of girls, playing college hockey. One Lady Coyote, Emily Dennee, got to realize her dream last season playing defense with the Becker College Beckerhawks. As an incoming sophomore, Emily had quite a bit to say about what playing in college is really like and has some advice for girls looking to make that transition.
What was the biggest change in going from the AZ Lady Coyotes to college?
Workload and practice load. I went from being on the ice 4 or 5x per week to practicing 6x per week and traveling every weekend.
What was your biggest challenge?
Time management. You need to balance your school work, practice and travel without the benefit of having someone to remind you of everything. The coaches also expect more and you have to maintain a certain GPA to be allowed to play so you are juggling quite a bit.
What was the best part of the experience?
The travel! Being on the bus with the team is amazing, we do karaoke, eat snacks, joke around. The camaraderie on the team is awesome. Also, the game is played at a higher level so the coaching is intense and the competition more challenging. It makes you a far better player.
Do you see yourself as a role model for the younger girls?
I try to be and by helping out at clinics I get to pay it forward. I like to come back to Arizona to see how much the program has grown, how the girls have changed and see who is wanting to go where. Also, lots of parents have questions about playing in college and I can be a resource to them too.
How are you feeling going into your second season?
I am feeling a little more comfortable because I have one season under my belt but you always have to step it up. You are always competing for ice time and even if you don't spend your summer at the rink, you definitely need to work out. There really isn't an offseason.
Do you have any advice for girls going into college hockey?
Manage your time well and be responsible for yourself. Nobody is there to do it for you. And be ready to work