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ON CAMPUS A look at the area college sports scene

Monday, April 23, 2007

For the love of hockey


Last week I wrote about East Haven's Joe Lucibello and his quest to continue hockey after his high school career ended.
Joe will try to play for Junior hockey while attending college. He wants to play for a year and then hopes to land a spot on a college team.
Joe's plight is not that different from that of Nicole Provencher, a goalie for the Guilford High hockey team.
Nicole, too, hopes to play in college and hopes to gain a spot by playng for the Connecticut Polar Bears, a state travel team.
Nicole's mom dropped me this note:



Dear Mr. Cloutier,
Today's article about Joe Lucibello's college dreams was very interesting to our family.
My daughter, Nicole Provencher, is a hockey goalie for the Guilford High School girl hockey team. As this sport is just becoming more popular, the competition is not at the level of boys ice hockey.
However, with the girls the competition to get into a school to play hockey has become more and more difficult.
Nicole plays also for the Connecticut Polar Bears and has been with them for 5 years. The Polar Bears have two levels of teams for each age bracket.
All of the tier 1 players are in prep schools. The prep school girls seem to have a direct path into colleges which host hockey teams. During the Polar Bear tournament in December the U19 Tier 1 teams have quite an audience of recruiters following the girls.
Nicole's high school team was defeated in the state championship game against New Caanan in overtime. She had 10 shutouts and a save percentage of 93%.
She also was the goalie during the Regional Tournament in which the Polar Bears won against Rhode Island for the championship.
Nicole was recruited by Cheshire Academy as they were planning to have a girls hockey team this fall. She was accepted but the hockey team plans were put on hold. So, Nicole must work twice as hard to be recognized as a potential college hockey player.
All this seems to be wrong place - wrong time. We really understand Joe Lucibello's frustration but if he plans a course and works very hard (a lot harder than the prep school boys) he should be OK.

That's all well said.
Basically, if you really want something you have to work for it.
I wish Nicole and Joe the best of luck.

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