By: Lily Criswell and Tracy Truong
As the school day comes to an end, most students head home to relax. However, for sophomore Hazel Fuhs, her real passion is just beginning to heat up. As she laces up her skates and takes to the ice, she hears the sounds of sticks clashing and pucks whizzing by. Hazel knows that nothing else in the world can compare to the rush of playing hockey.
Hazel Fuhs plays on a traveling hockey team and has had the opportunity to play in Alaska, Chicago, Minnesota, San Jose, Boston, Anaheim, and more! She specified that there are two types of hockey.
“There’s female hockey, which is what I play, and male hockey. There's a couple different rules. For example, you're not allowed to make as much contact but, generally, the play is pretty similar.”
Hazel started playing hockey when she was just 5 years old because of her father.
“I've played hockey forever. My dad was a speed skater which is when you skate around the rink to race others. I tried a couple different sports but I didn’t like them as much. They just never had that physical component like hockey does.” Hazel explained.
When asked how she stays motivated to keep pursuing hockey, Hazel stated that many people inspire her.
“I watch some National Hockey League teams but mostly it's my friends and my coaches. I've got a couple of coaches who played in higher leagues. Just watching them do crazy cool tricks is like ‘Wow, maybe I could do that one day.’”
Hazel’s favorite aspect of hockey is definitely her teammates. Even through long distances, she has always had a close connection with her hockey community.
“I definitely enjoy spending time with my teammates. Even though I don't get to see them that often – only when we travel – we always jump right back in and get along with each other really well,” emphasized Hazel.
It appears that she has a very strong bond with her teammates and the sport that they share because it strengthens her emotional and physical health.
Hazel explained, “I think hockey really helps with teamwork skills. It helps you work with people, not just on the ice but also figuring out traveling details or getting food for the whole team.”
Though there are many benefits when it comes to traveling hockey, it’s important to note a few challenges as well.
“For me, it has definitely been difficult to get the practice that I need and being able to get on the trips to travel because I'm not where my team is, which means I have to travel to be with them wherever they are.”
However, don’t let distance get in the way of practicing a sport that you have to travel for. Hazel is clearly passionate about hockey and is qualified to share a few pieces of advice for some beginners.
“Since the gear can get really expensive, I’d say just starting off with getting skates and trying to practice the simple stuff before you get too complicated is a smart way to get into hockey. Just start slow and work on the basics like skating and stick-handling.”