CALLING ALL GIRLS for a free skate open house! If you know a girl at the U10, U12, or U14 level who may be interested in learning more about Cape Ann Youth Hockey’s girls’ hockey program please come by and experience what it would be like to play.
This Sunday, June 24th from 5:00-6:00.
Any of you who happen to chance upon my Facebook page probably knew this was coming…but I’d be remiss to not throw out a post about our fantastic opportunities with the Boston Bruins lately.
We had a great time with a couple of other families at a preseason game a few weeks ago. After the game we waited for a bit outside of the players’ parking lot. While the boys were all hopeful for some autographs, we prepped them for the fact that the players were busy and may not be up for it. Imagine our surprise when car after car…and player after player…stopped to sign the boys’ hats. I mean…they weren’t just walking by…they actually had to put their cars in park, unfasten their seat belts, get out of the car, and walk to the sidewalk where the boys were standing…sharpies in hand.
First up was a great conversation with Ryan Daisy who had just finished refereeing his very first NHL game. He was incredibly gracious and spent about 10 minutes talking to us about the path his life took to lead him to his new gig. Pretty cool stuff. He was soon followed by David Pastrnak, Dominic Moore, Riley Nash, Rob O’Gara, Danton Heinen, Brandon Carlo, and Kevan Miller. Some were riding solo, three of the new skaters were riding together (which I found super cute as they all climbed out of various car doors to greet us), some were with wives/girlfriends…but they all stopped. Really, truly unbelievable.
Flash forward a few weeks and my boys had the opportunity to skate in the 3 Minutes of Fame in between periods of another Bruins game. Finn’s team was skating and, because they needed a goalie, they invited Thatcher to help out (no brainer for him or us). To be fair, last year Thatcher’s team had the same opportunity and Finn was called up to join them. Good times. So, here we were, walking from the Charlestown parking lot, across the locks, under the Zakim Bridge, and through the same parking lot. This time the boys were proudly packing their hockey bags and reporting to duty. As the nerves of skating in front of so many fans started to creep in, two cars passed us. One was a funny little red car with Rhode Island plates and three men inside… soon emerged Malcolm Subban (due to be in goal just before Thatcher) and a couple of his Providence Bruins buddies. All three came right up, signed the boys (now crowded) hats, and wished them good luck on the ice. As they were chatting with us, a small black Mercedes backed in right next to us…..and 6′ 9″ Zdeno Chara unfolded himself from inside. He too, Whole Foods bag in hand, stopped shook the boys’ hands, signed their hats, and gave them pointers.
Chara’s advice you may ask? “Look up…..Enjoy the view.” Come on! With Thatcher in goal and sporting the GoPro on his helmet, I could tell he took the words to heart. A couple of times he panned the crowd and enjoyed the moment. Watching the video back, it was so fun for me to hear the boys’ names announced in the Garden, watch one Schrafft shooting on another Schrafft, and see Thatch makes some nice saves (in an very unfamiliar position). The best part though was for sure listening to the crowd cheer and respond to each play….cheering for these young boys as they were living the dream.
I’ve included a video of their experiences…it is probably far too long…but maybe take a peek at a bit of it.
A huge thanks to The Boston Bruins and Cape Ann Youth Hockey!
Pick #1: Appleton Farm Family Farm Day
One of my favorite fall events!
Come celebrate the fall season with some good old-fashioned fun on America’s oldest working farm. Grab your friends and family and join us at Appleton Farms for our annual Family Farm Day! Visit with our farm animals, climb aboard a tractor, paint your own pumpkin, learn about beekeeping, challenge your friends at the potato spoon relay or hay obstacle course, and make sure to enjoy a pony ride! Looking for more? There are old-fashioned games like tug-o-war, crafts, face-painting, farm tattoos, and live music by Ben Rudnick and Friends.
All this activity will surely have you hungry for some fresh-from-the- farm food. Visit the food court where you will find our own 100% grass-fed burgers, seafood selections from Joe’s on a Roll, and Sa’ls Pizza. Snacks, drinks, and dessert will include White Farms Ice Cream, Pure Pastry, cider donuts, popcorn, Mojo cold-brewed coffee, and lemonade.
Admission includes everything except food and beverages. This event runs rain or shine. Admission fee is per car. Trustees members don’t forget your membership card to receive discounted admission. Not a member yet? Join at the event and receive a free Appleton t-shirt plus $10 off a family membership! (Promotion available at the event only).
Pick #2: Fish Box Derby
Thanks to Greg Bover’s post back on August 31st, I have had the Fish Box Derby on my radar for a couple of weeks! Which is great, because I often miss it. This year’s event takes place on Sunday, September 18th at noon.
Pick #3: Cape Ann Youth Hockey Presents: Bruins Alumni vs. Gloucester Police Department
Friday Night (Sept. 16th) @ Talbot Rink
Gloucester Police vs. Bruins Alumni
Puck drops at 7pm
Fishermen Girls Hockey will be running a concession with snacks, drinks & pizza
Come wear your CAYH colors and cheer on the teams!
As always, for a comprehensive list of family activities, please visit our friends at North Shore Kid
This is really such a fantastic program. Please spread the word to any families who you think may benefit from it. Challenger Hockey is a free program for children with developmental disabilities from ages 6-16. It is a wonderful way to introduce these children to adaptive ice hockey while also having a great time.
Please find the application online at the link below. Once there navigate down to the Challenger Program option.
I may have lied… Forgive me… and allow me to explain.
First of all, let me throw it out there, that I’m not proud about the mixed emotions that I’m feeling right now. But, the struggle is kind of real.
Last year, at this exact same time (only a mere two days apart) I sat down and composed a blog post entitled “Proud Mom Moment” (read it here, if you’d like). It detailed the adorable and amazing little journey that Thatcher’s hockey team experienced on their way to a fantastic Championship title. I was crazy proud and ridiculously emotional about it. I tried to capture the magic for you all so you could enjoy the ride.
Somewhere in the post I wrote the words, “PLEASE don’t get me wrong….losses would have been fun to watch too” ….and now, I fear, I may have lied. Because…yesterday, when they were down and didn’t come back….it wasn’t actually that much fun to watch after all.
Before you hate….let me explain.
This little team are winners. Every little thing about them screams Winners. And, guess what? As they yawn, roll over, stretch, rub their eyes, and drag their tired little bottoms out of bed right about now, at this very minute, after a 2nd place season’s end, they are still winners! And that I mean, for sure!
Yesterday, when down 0-3, Finn came up to me as I was taking photos…with giant tears in his eyes….and said, “We’re losing.” Finn worships his brother and his brothers’ team + teammates. Without a second’s hesitation I leaned down and said, “Don’t worry, Finn. This team doesn’t lose. They may be down right now. But, they don’t lose.” And, I meant it. This amazing little team had gone a full calendar year without a loss before finally falling to an opponent way back in November. While they suffered a couple of early losses this season, they then rallied and regained a very impressive winning streak. A streak so awesome, actually, that yesterday was their first full-ice loss…EVER…in two whole years. USA Hockey dictates that Mite level teams skate 1/2 ice games October-December and then full-ice games for the rest of the season. This unbelievable group of kids had won every single full-ice game they have played over the course of two full seasons…until yesterday.
So, down…in a very reminiscent fashion to last year’s championship…they managed to come back a bit. 2-3 in the 3rd period, I was still certain they’d tie it up. And, I was certain, that once it was tied…they’d go on to win easily. Because that’s what, after all, they do. But, they didn’t. Man, they tried hard. And, they tried hard again and again, but they just couldn’t. And, in the end, when that buzzer sounded, I was immediately surprised by my own disappointment. And…that…is what I mean by “the struggle is kind of real.”
See, this little group of skaters has become like family. They adore each other! And, after having been together for 2 seasons (with only a couple of new additions…who we feel like have been teammates since Day #1), the team will now get split up. They’ll head to the Squirts….and be distributed to three different teams. They’ll love their new teams…and they’ll continue to love hockey….and new magic will be created for sure, but..as the saying goes…you only have one true first love. And, this team, was theirs.
So, when I say it wasn’t fun to watch, I swear I don’t mean that in some over-the-top-winning-crazed-mother way. I mean it in a I-really-wanted-one-last-victory-for-them kind of way. I promise…yet, I’m still not proud.
They, thank goodness, showed grace and dignity. They had a phenomenal season, lots of laughs, leaned on each other, lifted each other up, and showed us all what it means to be a team…in the truest sense of the word. I am so proud of them! Each and every one of them. And, they should be SO proud of themselves!
I would be remiss not to mention that Cape Ann Youth Hockey is a tremendous program full of so many amazing teams. In fact, at just the Mite level alone, all three teams…Mite 1, Mite 2, and Mite 3….finished their seasons in 1st place. While Mite 1 and Mite 2 fell an itty bitty bit short yesterday, Mite 3 went on to win their Championship. So, a HUGE congratulations to them!!!!
A new session of this wonderful program has recently started. Please spread the word to friends who may have children who would benefit from this great opportunity!
Did you know that Gloucester hasn’t had a girls’ hockey team since 2007? With a large increase in the number of girls currently participating in Cape Ann Youth Hockey and the number of surrounding school systems (not to mention nationwide) that are currently offering ways for their female high school students to play competitive hockey, it is a shame that Gloucester isn’t.
Well, some mothers of current Cape Ann Hockey players are trying to change that!
I also find it noteworthy that Gloucester High School’s home rink, the Dorothy M. Talbot Rink, is graced with a scoreboard donated by Visa USA to honor and acknowledge the Olympic career of Team USA Women’s Hockey Coach, Benjamin Smith, III….and yet, does not have a High School Girls’ Team. [Ben lead the USA women’s team as they earned a Gold Medal in the 1998, a Silver in the 2002, and a Bronze in the 2006 Olympic Games.
PLEASE spread the word and see what we can do about making sure that Gloucester has a Girls’ Hockey Team next year!
PREPARING FOR THE FUTURE
It wasn’t our typical Friday night practice at O’Maley Rink for our CAYH girls teams, we went from lacing up our girls’ skates to talking about the future. Where does it go after here? Some of the U14 girls entering 8th and 9th grade started to inquire about a high school team. The CAYH league currently runs a girls travel league from the U10-U14 level. Over the last few years, girls hockey has increased in popularity with over 69,744 females registered with the USA Hockey Association in 2014-15. In our community CAYH went from 24 girl players in 2012/13 to a significant increase to 62 girl players in 2015/16 season.
Where does that leave the girls in our community entering high school who want to continue to play in an all girls league? Gloucester High hasn’t had a girls’ team since 2007. After some research we have found that Gloucester High is the only school that is not in a cooperative girls hockey team. Manchester/Essex travels to Marblehead, Ipswich travels to Beverly, and it was indicated that Rockport travels to Boxford to play. Seems crazy when we have a rink right in our back yard!
After some emails and a facebook page dedicated to bringing awareness that “YES Gloucester wants to PLAY!” there has been tremendous feedback and support from former GHS Girl players and from the community. Our girls want to play and we want to see our girls play!
Our first step in creating a team is gathering a list of interested players from Gloucester and surrounding towns. If your daughter is interested in playing please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
We look forward to hearing from you!
Jessica Cusumano and Mandy Milan (CAYH MOMS)
If you’ve read any of what I’ve written since joining GMG, you probably know that my boys play a lot of hockey and it is a big part of their childhoods as well as our lives.
School vacation week was certainly no different. Thatcher’s team was entered into a four-day tournament sponsored by the Boston Bruins. While they ultimately did not win the tournament, they were one of the finalists, and for that they were handsomely rewarded. Medals, hats, backpacks, team photos, etc….and then, the awesome icing on the cake, tickets for the entire team, coaches, and one parent per child to the coveted Winter Classic.
Not only did they score tickets, but they were given front row seats. Granted, being only 8-years old and a bit vertically challenged, they had a difficult time seeing the action take place way out in the center of the Pat’s playing field….but awesome seats nonetheless.
Kudos to the Boston Bruins for once again rewarding these young, budding athletes and helping to create memories to last a lifetime.
If any of the young skaters who grace the ice at The Dorothy M. Talbot Rink have any Olympic ambitions, it is pretty cool to have Ben (Punky) Smith watching from the stands!
Thatcher and Finn, knowing he is my husband’s Godfather, have read the plaques that pay tribute to his pretty fantastic Olympic Coaching career many times and were pretty smitten to see him at last week’s Gloucester High School game.
Thatcher was beyond happy to hear him say, “Your son looked pretty good out there” after his team skated at intermission.
Benjamin A. Smith, III was able to lead the United States Women’s Hockey team to a Gold Medal in 1998, a Medal in 2002, and a Bronze Medal in 2006. His 1998 Olympic Team went on to be inducted into the United States Hockey Hall of Fame.
You’ve all probably heard (or read) me wax poetically about my love for our Cape Ann Youth Hockey coaches. Well, here’s your chance to check it out for yourself. If your child has a 2007 or 2008 birthdate, has the appropriate skating experience (see below) and is interested in playing for CAYH’s Travel Mite Program, register now for Mite Madness! The skaters will participate in a skills session with Gloucester High School players while parents have the chance to hear about what the Travel Mites are all about.
Skate & Information Session
- Roger Grillo, the USA Hockey Regional Manager, will discuss the ADM player development model and have an open discussion with parents and other attendees.
- Pre-Registration is required.
- Players must have participated in CAYH Cross-Ice, In House, or Mite Hybrid in 2014-15 (or an equivalent program) to register. Skaters who have participated in Learn to Skate for at least 2 seasons and who have progressed to the “Learn to Play” sections are also candidates are also candidates for this evaluation. Players must have a valid USA hockey number in order to participate in the on ice skate session.
The title of this post should be your warning that if you don’t want to hear me gloat….read no further.
Ok. There. We got rid of them. The rest of you can buckle in for a minute…or two.
Joey likes to tell me that the majority of my posts are about drinking….or things related to drinking. One of Joey’s good friends teased me a couple of weeks ago that all I do is write about sushi and my boys eating sushi. Neither of them are far off, I suppose.
So, today I’m going to write about one of my boys…his amazing hockey team championship (which was cause for a few drinks afterwards)…and I’ll even mention that when asked what he wanted to eat for dinner on Friday to gear up for two giant Championship games…he said “sushi.”
Seriously though. I almost can’t even believe how crazy proud I’ve been of Thatcher this hockey season. He’s worked hard, had some amazing games, and had a bit of a slump. He has scored hat tricks, chased the puck, passed the puck, and done his far share of stopping the puck. He has celebrated his teammates’ successes with minimal showboating and he has accepted constructive criticism humbly.
More importantly than just Thatcher…the entire team has grown, learned, improved, and rallied. Equally as fun…many of the parents have laughed, cheered, and bonded. As a family we’ve made some friends this season that we hope we’ll continue to play and cheer with for many, many years to come.
Thatcher started the Learn to Skate program with Cape Ann Youth Hockey when he was just under 3 1/2 years old. He pushed the milk crate, cried a few times, and was soon off and skating. For three full seasons he then participated in the CAYH Cross Ice Program. He learned skills, met some great friends, and grew to love playing more each year. It didn’t take long at all for us to realize that hockey was to continue being a part of our lives for a long, long time.
During those three years I often joked with friends who were parents of slightly older children. “When do they actually start playing games?” I mean, don’t get me wrong, practices, drills, and mini scrimmages were cute and all, but after 4 full years I was ready to cheer during a full-fledged game.
This year….was that year.
This year’s hockey season started waaaay back in October…and ended yesterday. The team started off slowly with a couple of wins, a tie, and then three losses in a row. And then….something happened. Something clicked. And, forgive me….but, the winning started. This amazing little team of 7 and 8 year-olds started to become somewhat unstoppable. To say that it was fun to watch is an insane understatement. PLEASE don’t get me wrong….losses would have been fun to watch too…and I swear I still would have been crazy proud of that little team…but, to watch their success play out weekend after weekend as they hugged, high-fived, laughed, and celebrated gave me giddy goosebumps. I tear up each and every time I watch Thatcher score. Seriously, each and every time. I’m tough on Thatch…I expect a lot of him when it comes to manners, participation, hard work, politeness…pretty much you name it. That having been said, there is something about watching him skate so effortlessly and observing him be a part of a team….while we sit back and watch from afar that leaves me in awe. It is never lost on me, and forgive me for throwing it out there…but it’s a big part of why I’m ridiculously emotional about him right now…that several doctors recommended that I end my pregnancy with Thatcher. There are quiet moments that happen almost daily when I think, Thank God. This weekend, for whatever reason, I thought that every second that I watched him play. Thank God.
I love what he has gained from playing hockey. I adore the player and the teammate that he has become. I am thankful to all of those within the CAYH organization…especially this year’s coaches.
As the Cape Ann Mite Hybrid team went undefeated from November 16th, all through December, past January, into February, and unbelievably all the way to the end of the season this March, I saw changes in Thatcher that crept up on me and caught me off guard. While I was so eager for him to play those “real” games….I wasn’t prepared for how grown-up he’d seem out there on the ice….not needing me for a second. Like all parents, I’m an integral part of every other single aspect of Thatcher’s life. But hockey…is all him….and his teammates and coaches (one of which happens to be my husband).
So, the regular season wrapped up with Cape Ann in 1st place. With a first round bye, the play-offs only consisted of two make-it-or-break-it games for this little engine that could.
A 6-0 Shutout Win for rockstar goalie Luke Holmes (coined Luuuuuke-There-It-Is) by his teammates…who probably don’t even know that song…solidified the team’s journey to the Championship game yesterday at the Haverhill Valley Forum.
I am by no means a sports reporter so I won’t try to regale you with the details, but let’s just say that the game started with Cape Ann down 0-3 pretty quick into the first period and, wrong or not, dread started to creep into my spine. While we did eventually settle in and start to score, there was never a time during the game…and until maybe the very last minute….that there was any relief.
A final score of 8-7 led to some tears, an explosion of cheers, some tackling of a goalie who had another phenomenal game, and some deep, deep sighs of relief. Would it have been ok if they lost? Of course. Would be still have celebrated a tremendous season? You betcha. But… Am I secretly, almost ashamedly, beyond proud of those little skaters because of their Championship Season? I’d be lying if I said “no”.
I laugh even as I write this…because he’s 7 and it was a Mite Championship…but, I just can’t help myself but to feel so proud. I have taught students who are now playing college sports on scholarship, I have friends whose children are winning State Championships, I even graduated with a classmate whose son plays in the NBA. I rode in two World Series Rolling Rally Parades and stood on the field with all of the members of the winning Red Sox teams game after game. Gosh knows all of their parents felt proud. But yet…right now…while my little champion carries on, I can’t imagine how a parent could ever feel more proud.
Congratulations Cape Ann Mite Hybrids and Valley League Champions! You should all be incredibly, incredibly proud.
Try Hockey For Free on Saturday, Feb 21st @ 4:00 pm at Talbot Rink!
You can register here Tryhockeyforfree.com
On Saturday, February 21st, USA Hockey and over 300 local associations across the country will host Try Hockey For Free Day, presented by Kraft! Participating locations encourage kids, ages 4 to 9, to come try youth hockey as part of the eighth annual Hockey Weekend Across America, presented by CCM. All locations will have limited equipment available for use.
Find the closest Try Hockey event to you in the map below by searching your zip code. Try Hockey events are indicated with a red pin on the map. Click the pin most convenient to you to register your child.
For any questions, please contact us at (719) 538-1124 or email email@example.com.
Cape Ann Youth Hockey, along with some folks named the Boston Bruins, pulled off a fantastic event yesterday afternoon….all in the name of the Open Door Food Pantry. The Boston Bruins Street Brigade Clinic gave about 50 kids the opportunity to participate in some street hockey games, meet Blades (the Bruins mascot), and receive gifts from the Boston Bruins. In return, Cape Ann Youth Hockey and the Bruins simply asked that participants make a donation to the incredibly worthy Open Door Food Pantry. A win-win!
Another example of great things happening on any given day within our community!
A huge thanks to all of those involved! It is never too late to make a donation! Please consider.
Well, we’re back to school and that can only mean one thing…we’ll soon be back to the hockey rink too! Soon, meaning next week.
I’ve been known to complain about the cold, crazy hours at the rink, but…between you and me…I wouldn’t have it any other way! My boys love the game and being a part of Cape Ann Youth Hockey has been a fantastic experience for us all.
For any of you fellow hockey families, don’t forget about this great event! A win-win for sure. A win for the kids and a win for the Open Door Food Pantry who will receive donations from all registered players! Check out the link below for much more information! See you there!
Space is Limited — Register Today!
Submitted by Kristin Michel
Cape Ann Youth Hockey Invites Kids Age 4-9 to participate in
Try Hockey for Free Day on November 2nd
Cape Ann Youth Hockey invites boys and girls ages 4 to 9 years old to Talbot Rink on Saturday, November 2nd at 9am for a Try Hockey for Free clinic to experience ice hockey for the first time and learn the basics of the sport in a fun, safe environment.
Try Hockey For Free Day is part of Come Play Hockey Month. This program, designed to provide youth hockey associations a national platform to introduce new kids to the sport, is a joint‐effort between USA Hockey, the National Hockey League, and NHL member clubs. With Total Hockey and Liberty Mutual Responsible Sports, the official sponsors of Try Hockey For Free Day, USA Hockey has 500 locations offering kids between the ages of 4 and 9 years old this unique opportunity.
CAYH looks forward to introducing new families to our sport! Every participant will receive a special gift from CAYH and a hockey jersey from USA Hockey.
Advance on-line registration is required and space is limited.
To register for Cape Ann Youth Hockey’s Try Hockey for Free clinic, please visit www.TryHockeyForFree.com.
Please contact Kristin Michel at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
Submitted by Kristin Michel
Register at www.capeannyouthhockey.com