HARDYSTON, NJ – Members of the North Jersey Phoenix will be joining with the Skylands Ice Hockey coaching staff in a new Women’s Collegiate Ice Hockey program. The North Jersey Phoenix is a competitive collegiate ice hockey team comprised of college women who do not have the opportunity to play for their university.
“The whole reason why we exist is to fill a huge void. There are no schools in the area that offer an Ice Hockey team for women,” said Ed Solski of NJ Phoenix. “Surprisingly this developmental composite team went all the way to finals last year.”
Solski’s daughter Lauren began a nine month effort to start a women’s team at Montclair University. When that was called off in July 2013, they persevered. Talking with the organizational league officials, the NJ Phoenix was able to form providing another team to compete in the conference.
The Phoenix will call Skylands their home for the 2014-2015 season that begins mid-October and runs through February. They will play other teams in the Delaware Valley Collegiate Hockey Conference.
Some of the teams in this division include Rutgers University, Rowan University, American University, Columbia University, Indiana University of PA, University of Maryland, Towson University and University of Virginia.
The Phoenix team went all the way to the Division II finals last year. They were bested by University of Pennsylvania who went undefeated all season. “The crowning moment was the semi-final game when they shut out IPU 5-0 after having lost to them twice in the regular season,” said Solski.
A shut out at that level is even more impressive when learning that Lauren Solski moved into the goalie slot when no other goalie came out for the team. Without experience, she got coaching and was able to help keep the team competitive her first year in net.
These athletes attend schools in the region such as Montclair University, William Paterson University, Fordham University, New Jersey Institute of Technology, College of Staten Island, Bergen, Brookdale, Essex, Morris, Raritan Valley and Rockland Community Colleges. There is even a student from Arizona State University. This second year they only lost two players and added a few others for a full bench of 14 skaters, one goalie and three developmental players.
Without having the backing of a school’s athletic department, the team must raise funds to offset the high cost of competing. They must pay for everything including ice time, officials, travel, uniforms, equipment and league fees.
To help defray the costs the NJ Phoenix participate in a competitive fundraiser called Battle of the Skates. They seek donations paid by credit card with a $10 minimum. The added challenge is to get donations from people in as many different states as possible. The team with the most states represented will earn a bonus for their team.
For additional information and to donate you can go to:
They are hoping to repeat last year’s Battle of the Skates champions in all categories, especially given their lack of any other support.
The pre-season games begin October 4 and 5 on the road where they will face-off against University of Virginia. Rutgers will come to Skylands on Oct 12 at 2:15 p.m. for their final pre-season game.
The regular season will start on Oct 25 when they host American University. They will also play in a tournament against Towson, a DI team who won their division last year.
The NJ Phoenix women will travel to Hershey for the All-Star game in April as well.
Ed Solski was complimentary of League Commissioner and American University’s Women’s team Head Coach Bryan Benenati.
Summing up the short history of the unique women’s team he added, “If you can dream it, you can do it.”
To learn more about the team look at: http://www.njphoenixhockey.com
Link to original article: https://www.tapinto.net/articles/nj-phoenix-womens-collegiate-team-moves-to-skyla