Back in November a mother-daughter team decided to step out and launch a blog that would highlight photos taken at Caps practice and games, with a few good stories thrown in to make it interesting. We added a couple more ladies to help write the post games for us and then we added another gal-photographer. Finally we broke down and asked two of our guy friends to join us writing about the Caps and the local hockey community. Our goal was to bring you a positive perspective on our favorite team and some great pictures to bring it to life.
Little did we know that we would make so many friends along the way!
When we started the Women and Hockey series, we asked CSN reporter Jill Sorenson for some suggestions and she steered us to hockey mom, wife, and player, Wendy Hockey, who plays for the Hockey Donkeys at Skate Frederick. We had a chance to talk about life as a hockey mom and how she was drawn to play hockey herself. She is one of those great ladies who supports her kids as players, as well as her husband (by joining his team), and who has devoted her time and energy to the sport many of us only get to watch. Here’s Wendy’s story:
Wendy began playing hockey after her children became involved in hockey. Her boys began to play around the ages of eight or nine and before long her daughter, Emily, would trade in her figure skates for hockey skates. She said she didn’t want to wear the dresses and wanted to do what her brothers did. And with that a hockey family was born!
One of her friends suggested that Wendy take up hockey herself. Reluctantly, she borrowed her son’s equipment and signed up for an adult class on hockey. Note: she didn’t even know how to skate yet! Next thing you know, she was invited her to play on the women’s league. She was a bit hesitant at first but she went ahead and tried out for the Frederick Firestorms—and made the cut. She didn’t really know anything about playing hockey when she started but she learned as she went along.
For the first few years she played with the women, in her son’s uniform because he was big enough. When he outgrew it, she acquired all his gear. After a few years she was asked to sub for her husband’s team and found out she really enjoyed playing with the men. Wendy says they are “bigger, faster, stronger, and more competitive.” And she loves the challenge of playing against the men!
Being a hockey mom takes dedication and was really hard, especially when the kids got to high school. Her husband also coaches and it was difficult to sit in the bleachers with other parents. So she took up the clock and the score sheet because it was awkward hearing comments about the coach. Wendy said it can be hard watching her kids play and get hit. It is harsh and scary to see them stay on the ice after a hard hit; but exciting and joyful to see them score. Her three kids played together on multiple teams in different divisions when they were younger and later played on one team in high school. Her daughter has gone on to play hockey in college at the University of Delaware.
For this hockey mom, there is really no life outside of hockey between the kids and playing with her husband. It’s a 30 minute ride from home to the rink, then time to change, play, and another 30 minutes back home. It takes commitment to live that schedule. When the kids were younger they would come in for the kids games first and drive them home after their game and return to play with the adults. They put a lot of miles on their cars. Thankfully they didn’t have to deal with early morning practices; however, with practices a 6 pm they did have to fight traffic up 270 to get there on time.
As it goes with many hockey players, Wendy was side-lined for a while with knee surgery as well as an accident that injured her back. But in true hockey player fashion—she came back to the game she loves. Much of that probably has to do with the real sense of community she has found with the Donkeys. She explained that the Donkeys are a strong community—like family. When their captain’s wife passed away last year, it brought the team even closer. People who quit the team wanted back on but they didn’t have room on the roster. On the day we visited they were hosting a charity tournament called Donkeys Kick Cancer with all the proceeds going to Klein Hospice. Klein House was there for their captain whose wife hospice supported when she took ill last year. It was such a relief for someone to come in and take care of her so family could focus on spending time with their wife and mother in her last days. This was their first charity tournament and as an incorporated team they plan for more such functions.
When describing the guys on the Donkey team, she said they are genuinely the best guys she has ever met. They are all honorable (and all datable)—really good guys. They would do anything for anyone at any time, no questions asked. As it goes, Wendy said all their friends are hockey friends—which are the best to have. We couldn’t agree with her more.
Your Friends in Cold Places (FiCP) team turned their car toward Fredrick, Maryland Saturday for a charity match to benefit the Klein House. Klein House, in Mount Airy, MD provides services to the terminally ill during their final days. It brings comfort and peace of mind to the entire family as they come to terms with their circumstances.
The Klein House holds a special place with the Fredrick Skate home team, the Navy Donkeys. Colleen, wife of team captain Jason Sedgwick, lost her life to cancer in October 2014. On Saturday, January 2nd, The Hockey Donkeys of Skate Frederick sponsored its first adult tournament called “Donkeys Kick Cancer” featuring men’s teams from around the area to raise funds in support of Kline Hospice, who was there for the Sedgwick family.
The Hockey Donkeys are based in Frederick, Maryland. The tournament brought out some of the area’s best players to compete while bringing awareness to the needs those who struggle with the devastation of family members with terminal illness. We found that the Donkeys are so much more than a group of hockey players hanging out and drinking beer. They are a group of men, women, and their families who are there to support one another through the difficult moments in their lives. They surrounded the Sedgwick family at their time of need and are there for others in need of assistance.
Team member Wendy Hockey showed FiCP around and introduced us to members of the league. It was clear how excited they were to host this first event. On a beautiful warm Saturday, players from as far away as New Jersey came together for a common cause. The Navy Donkey’s hosted a raffle to raise funds in addition to selling merchandise.
The end result? They raised $3,000 which will be donated to the Klein House to help other families in need. The Donkeys show what it means to be part of a local hockey community that not only has fun but has a commitment to charity. They will host another event next year with the hopes of raising even more funds for a select charity.