EAST ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — If you look in the net for the Brighton/Honeoye Falls-Lima/East Rochester ice hockey team, you might see a long braid coming down the back of the goaltender’s jersey.
That’s Madeline Eaton, a sophomore at East Rochester High School, and one of two starting goaltenders for the Bruins.
She began playing ice hockey when she was 5 years old, and fell in love with the game instantly. In addition to playing for predominantly boys high school team, Eaton is the goaltender for the Rochester Edge Girls Hockey 19U team.
Eaton may also look familiar to fans of the East Rochester Lady Bombers field hockey team. She was the goaltender who helped the girls win their first sectional title in 11 years this fall.
Field hockey was something Eaton picked up in eighth grade, just trying out for the team on a whim and enjoying it. There are plenty of differences in goaltending for theses two sports besides the setting.
“In field hockey, it’s less action down by the net compared to ice hockey because of the whistles and everything,” said Eaton. “It’s a different way you play in the net. In field hockey, you’re more standing, unlike ice hockey where you’re moving in a smaller area.”
Winning sectionals with East Rochester was one of Eaton’s best school sport memories, but her other was on the ice: suiting up for the first time for the Bruins as an eighth grader.
“We were playing Fairport. It was a lot of fun, even though I didn’t do that well because I was so young,” Eaton said. “I played that team again last year. You can see the growth. I blocked more shots.”
High school ice hockey has given her the opportunity to make friends from Brighton and HFL, through a team of combined schools. Eaton also loves the level of play and tempo on the boys team.
“They make hockey so much fun. We get together 6 days a week and play our favorite sport,” said Eaton. “They do not treat me differently, but on the ice if a boy from another team hits a girl on your team, they will get pretty angry about it. They can be pretty protective.”
The East Rochester sophomore has goals beyond the crease. Right now, her biggest goal is to spread awareness of girls in ice hockey.
“Girls can play on the boys teams just as well as they can play on a girls team,” said Eaton. “It might be scary just because they’re so much bigger especially at that age, but you can’t be scared. Go out there and play.”
After high school, Eaton hopes to play college hockey nearby and later become the first woman head coach of a Section V ice hockey team.