Written by By Olivia Cross and Ciara Lucas. This story was originally published in Ithaca Week and was not written by The Ithaca Voice.
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ITHACA, N.Y. — The Ithaca Sirens are celebrating their 23rd season as an amateur women’s recreational ice hockey team.
The Sirens, who are players ranging between the ages of 18-60, returned to the rink Oct. 24 for their first practice and were officially established in 1992. Several of the women previously played on men’s leagues until they came up with the idea to form a women’s team. Starting with only nine players, it has grown significantly since the beginning.
“We are always looking to recruit new people, that’s why we have such a big age range,” said center-wing player, CJ DelVecchio.
DelVecchio has been a part of the Sirens since its first season. She is considered an “elder” on the team. Defensive player, Tara Bricker, said elders are a group of veteran players who uniformly make team decisions.
Sarah Reinholt, a four year center player for the Sirens initially joined because she felt the team had a balance of being competitive and also fun.
She explained that a certain skill level is needed to join the team. “Everyone is experienced on this team,” Reinhold said. “Generally we don’t want beginners because we do try and play at a higher level. We range from fairly usual skill level up to just out of playing D1 varsity hockey.”
Belonging to Tompkins Girls’ Hockey Association and USA Hockey, Kelley Sullivan, a 12-year veteran forward, said the Sirens pay the governing body a fee allowing them to participate in tournaments and have certain referees present during their games. This is mainly done for insurance purposes.
Priced at $300 to participate this season, DelVecchio said she believes they are reasonably priced in comparison to other leagues they are surrounded by. Equipment is provided at the player’s discretion, for materials range to be fairly expensive, but have tendencies to last for long periods of time.
Playing a variety of teams in the northeast region, the Ithaca Sirens select each team they play during the season.
The Sirens do not consider any team to be their rivals. They generally enjoy the array of players they compete against.
“If we come across a team we don’t enjoy playing, we can make the decision to not play them again,” Reinholt said.
The team designates one person to contact other local women’s teams in the area to organize a game. Their goal is to play each team at least twice a season, once home and once away. The team attempts to schedule games within a two hour driving radius. Reinholt said it can be difficult to travel to games with players’ various schedules.
The Sirens are independently managed. Experienced hockey players outside of the team attend games to assist with plays and coaching.
“It’s really hard to both play a game and coach at the same time,” DelVecchio said.
21-year-old Latawya Edick, is the youngest member on the team and began playing for the Sirens four years ago. Initially looking for a team in the Ithaca area that shared an enjoyment for hockey at a competitive level, she found the Sirens to be the perfect fit.
“I love ice hockey,” Edick said. “I’ve played about eight sports before, and this is the one I’ve always stuck with.”
She said she has found ice hockey to be a challenge and is something she is constantly working at to improve. Edick said that age should not be a deciding factor on athletic ability.
Reinholt shares similar views, as she describes her teammates serving as her mentors and inspiration for playing ice hockey in the future.
“I think it makes everyone better as a person,” Reinholt said. “I’m here and I’m like ‘wow that’s awesome, I hope that’s me some day’… I want to still be playing in my 50’s.”
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