ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — After a long and challenging season, the Rochester Edge 17U girls hockey team is being rewarded with a trip to the USA Hockey Nationals in Denver, Colorado.
The Edge earned an at-large big after losing in the state championship 2-1 earlier this month.
“We can’t wait,” said center Katilin Cowie. “We’re just super excited and you can tell the energy has changed on the ice just knowing that we’re going and getting this opportunity.”
“It’s really super exciting. I think for most people here it’s a dream come true,” said Helen VanDamme, who plays defense for the Edge. “It’s been very hard this season to get games and get everyone to practice because of all the COVID restrictions. So I think it’ll be a really great experience for everyone.”
The Edge have had many tournaments this season get canceled just days before they were supposed to leave thanks to changes in the state’s travel restrictions.
“We had many weekends planned and Tuesday we’d find out that Ohio was on the list that we wouldn’t be able to Ohio and things like that continue to happen throughout the season,” said head coach Scott Reston.
The team has also been playing up an age group all season long. The 17U team typically plays a 17U schedule in Southern Ontario throughout the season. But with the team being unable to travel to Canada, they played a 19U schedule in the States.
“We had to be faster because we weren’t as big as the other teams but we used what we had— our skill and our effort our heart and wanting to go out and play and win,” said Cowie.
“We’ve got a lot of really talented girls, a lot of really fast players out there,” said Reston. “I don’t think they notice that all that much, it doesn’t really affect the way we’re playing.”
The Edge are competing in the USA Hockey Tier II 19U Nationals. VanDamme says it’s good for Rochester hockey and girls hockey in the area to have their team have this type of success.
“It’s really, really empowering and it just shows that hard work pays off,” she said. “It’s really good for the organization. It shows that we can do this and we’re just a really competitive team.”