Don’t ever count out Lauren Solski. A recent high school graduate, Lauren looked forward to college hockey. She played all through her early teens on local teams but dreamed of a time when she could compete at the college level.
Last year when she enrolled at Montclair State University, she saw a men’s team (club) but not a women’s. Starting a team would be beyond the pale of many adults, let alone a college freshman. But Lauren is not a woman that takes to no kindly. She organized, emailed, hung flyers, emailed some more and got the team going. Realizing that her team needed a goalie, Lauren stepped up and learned the position to keep the team alive. She found women willing to pay (club teams pay) and then the bad news. After a year of hearing that she couldn’t do it, the final straw came when she was informed that the team could practice but not play games.
Most folks would surely stop. But Lauren switched lines on the fly and decided enough was enough.
While hearing no from Montclair was difficult, a bigger point was not participating in the DVCHC (Delaware Valley Collegiate Hockey Conference). For some reason, the club organizers at Montclair did not want DVCHC involvement. For Lauren and many of her teammates this was a big factor.
Lauren’s solution, as one might guess, was to start another team, one which would play in the DVCHC. The team, named the Phoenix (yes, rising from the ashes), will play this fall and play out of Newark. Incredibly, she was able to find enough women to play and to find practice and ice time. The team will be based mainly around the Devils practice facility in Newark for now.
Lauren and the Phoenix still have many hurdles, such as fielding a team that has never played together. However, one gets the feeling that Lauren realizes that these types of problems are small problems. If the team can overcome the on-ice hurdles like they have the off-ice ones, look out.