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My Experience Dual Rostering on a Co-Ed Team and an All Girls Team

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To me, dual rostering only has its ups, it doesn’t have any downs. I get the best of both worlds by playing on two teams in one season. I get to practice with my all girls team where I get to enhance my skills and refocus on the basics while having fun with my teammates. And, I get to practice with my co-ed team where things are more fast paced and I’m constantly pushing myself to keep up while applying the skills I worked on with my all girls team to my co-ed team. The best of both worlds, I wouldn’t want it any differently. 

Going into the 2023-2024 season, I had no idea that I would be dual rostering. I just thought I would be staying with what would become my primary team, for the whole season. Except that wasn’t the case as I officially made the decision to start dual rostering on October 19th 2023, just two months and two games into the regular season.

I’ve played with my Co-Ed, for two seasons now and I have nothing but amazing things to say about the organization. Everyone who is a part of the Association is incredible. Every person is dedicated to the sport and dedicated to helping athletes be successful and continue to grow and develop their skills while providing a fun and safe environment for their athletes to play in. 

The start of the new season (2023-2024) started off very quickly. It took a while to adjust to the fast pace of the game since last year in 14U the speed wasn’t as fast as 18U. I remember right away there were some practices that were so fast paced I felt like I was going to pass out on the ice, that’s how big the difference in pace was. A few of the guys on the team played with each other before and they were all very welcoming to all of the newcomers to the team. Our team chemistry took a little longer to develop especially since a few of us hadn’t ever played with each other before. But, a few weeks into the season, our chemistry was there. 

I had been registered to play with my Co-Ed team on their 18U team for the 2023-2024 season since before the summer of 2023. But, I had started to change my mind after a problem I had been having with a soon to be teammate had gone on for too long. I was unsure if I would be able to withstand the season so I considered transferring before practices even started. I was planning on transferring to an all girls hockey organization, one of the only in the state. Before practices started, I had reached out to the coaches to see if I could transfer. The coaches were so helpful and tried to do everything they could to get me on their roster but still, since I couldn’t get a refund from my other team, I couldn’t. I was so excited to get a fresh start just for it to be taken out of my hands.

Things had started to get worse with this teammate as the season started and me and my family began to contact the coaches at the all female team to reconsider transferring. My family and I ended up having a meeting with the Co-Ed team registrar, my coach and hockey director about what had been happening between me and my teammate. After the meeting, the decision was made to dual roster. In the end, the teammate ended up being released from the team and I was now the only girl on the team. It was relieving, it was like finally getting a breath of fresh air after not being able to breath for so long.

Before I ended up having that meeting with the registar, hockey director, my coach, and my family, I had already begun skating with the female team. They had invited me to scrimmage with them a few weeks prior to that meeting and I was extremely excited. Right away, everyone was so welcoming to me and took me in as if I was already one of their teammates. After my first scrimmage with the team, the first thing I did was ask the coach if I could come back and scrimmage with them the following weekend. The coach immediately said yes. I liked it there. Correction, I love it there.

Playing with my Co-Ed team is incredible, I love it here. This season, I am playing on the 18U team as the only girl and I love it. I was not expecting the big jump from 14U last season to 18U this season. I knew the difference would be big but I never really thought the change would be so drastic until practices started. I find myself skating a lot harder than I ever did in 14U. I have to push myself really hard during drills to keep up with my teammates who are not only faster than me, but they have a higher skill level than me. The drills we do translate to in game scenarios which I find to be really helpful although they can be challenging. What I really love about playing with the Co-Ed team is our league. We play in the MHL (Metropolitan Hockey League) and we get to play a variety of different teams each weekend. Each game is fast paced, challenging, and fun. There are so many teams in our league that we get to play every weekend at different rinks, that’s one of the best parts.

 Our roster is very short, consisting of 11 players which makes our games more challenging. We have to make sure that we take short shifts because we know that we’re going to be on the ice many times during the games. These short shifts are extremely important as we only have two lines of forwards. Everyone on the team works really well with each other which is extremely important especially if our lines get mixed up. We all know how to play with each other and we can adapt to any situation at any time. Our team is resilient and strong as we’ve all overcome many obstacles this year. I’ve never been a part of such a resilient and inspiring group of talented people before. This team is life changing. 

When I started dual rostering, I was extremely excited. I knew I would get to be on the ice more often and make even more memories with more people. Every hockey player wants to be on the ice as much as possible. For me, I get to be on the ice anywhere between 5-7 times a week and yet I still crave more ice time. I get to be on the ice on Mondays, Tuesdays (occasionally), Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays and I hate having days off. Being at the rink is the only place I want to be all the time. Bad day? I want to go to the rink. Good day? I want to go to the rink. Had a bad practice? That’s okay, I’ll go to the rink tomorrow and be better. When I’m at the rink, everything goes away. All of my problems, all of my worries, everything. I just get to focus on hockey while having fun with my teammates. In those moments on the ice, nothing else matters. Just hockey and having fun with my teammates.

With the Female Hockey Association, I play on their combined 14U/19U team and I love it so much. A few months after I joined the team, I started to feel like I’ve taken on a leadership role there. I’ve led team huddles in games and scrimmages countless times and led our team in chants. I’ve taken on the role of being the team hype woman. I’m always dancing and signing on the ice which gets my teammates pumped for the games. I’m always screaming on the ice to my teammates to help make plays as well as screaming words of encouragement from the bench. With the girls, I get to be myself. My teammates get to see every side of me and all of my personalities. I love being able to express myself freely with my team and I love seeing all of my teammates personalities and sides to them as well. It’s a lot easier for me to talk to my teammates with the female team since it’s an all girls team. It’s easier for me to fit in and relate to my teammates. That’s something I really needed for hockey. I struggled a lot with being able to talk to my teammates in my first season playing with boys and I often felt isolated most of the time. But coming to the girls team and finally being able to have a bond with my teammates is exactly what I craved and needed and now I have it. 

Photo by Meg Valliant

What I really love about the girls team is that everyone’s skill level is all the same which makes it significantly easier to keep up with my teammates. We don’t have an official league yet, which is why most of our games are in house scrimmages. But, occasionally we do play other teams. The Sno King Ameture Hockey Association recently added a 14U all girls rec team who we have played countless times this year and each game has been so fun. We’ve also gotten to play teams from all over the BC area in Canada. 

My Co-Ed team is extremely competitive with the fast paced games and rosters of powerful athletes. With countless championship banners, it’s no surprise that we are a competitive team. We strive to win and we do. We take home wins, leave the losses and ties behind us and try to take home the championship banner at the end of the year. We play our hardest every single game of the season and our hard work shows our dedication to our team and the game. 

Our team would not be what it is without our incredible leadership group. Our leadership group does an incredible job leading our team and everyone who wears a letter on their jerseys is so deserving of wearing those letters. Our leadership group does a great job of standing up for everyone on the team. At our most recent game, a player on the opposing team checked me into the boards. No call on the play but my teammates were extremely unhappy with his actions. When I was coming off for a change after being hit, one of our alternate captains was the first one to come off the bench to ask me who hit me. At the time, I genuinely did not know who hit me as it happened so fast. But I really appreciated him, and one of my other teammates, having my back on that play and wanting to stand up for me. This team is extremely close and we all love and care about each other so much. Playing with this team is one of the best teams I’ve ever played on in my life. I love it here. 

My Co-Ed team is a family, one of the best I’ve ever gotten the opportunity to be a part of. We all care about each other so much and I think of my teammates as big brothers. Before I started dual rostering, I wasn’t sure if I even wanted to stay with them even if the decision was made to release my teammate from our team. I thought things would be extremely different in a bad way and my teammates would think less of me. I didn’t want to be disliked by my teammates for being the cause of a teammate getting released from our team. But, deciding to stay was one of the best decisions I have ever made. I think that if I decided to not stay with them, my hockey career would be completely different. I might not have scored my first goal or gotten my first assist. I wouldn’t have the amazing coaches that I have now. This team means so much to me. This whole organization means the world to me. I’ve come to realize that the Co-Ed team is the team that I want to have my senior night with in two years. This is the organization that I cannot ever imagine leaving. Leaving would be like abandoning everything that’s made me, me. My teammates here mean the world to me and I love them all so much. And if I could play with this team for the rest of my career, I would. This is the most impactful team I have ever played on and this team will have a special place in my heart for the rest of my life. 

Where I’ll end up playing next year, I’m not sure yet. The decision isn’t simple. It isn’t just simply one or the other. It’s deciding between two amazing organizations and two amazing families. And I wish it was as simple as one or the other, but when you put these factors into play, it isn’t that simple, it’s one of the hardest decisions I have to make. With the girls, we don’t have a league to play in so most of our games are in house scrimmages with occasional games against other teams. With the Co-Ed, we do have a league. We play different teams every weekend. With the Co-Ed team, I’m the only girl. With the female team, I’m not. With the Co-Ed team, my skill level isn’t anywhere close to my teammates. With the girls, everyone’s skill level is the same. It’s not just as simple as one or the other.

There are so many options for me next year. I’m trying out for two rep teams this spring. The Seattle Junior Redhawks 16U A1/ 17U A2 girls and the Sno King Ameture Hockey Association all girls 16U/19U AA. Even if I don’t make either of those teams, the decision is still incredibly hard. I have so many different paths to choose from and I’m afraid that I’ll walk down the wrong path. 

Both of my teams will forever hold a special place in my heart and the thought of leaving both of them breaks my heart. Choosing one over another feels like I’m abandoning one team to go with the other. But, wherever I end up playing, I’ll still be playing the best sport in the world. I am beyond grateful for all of the amazing opportunities I’ve gotten this year. I know that wherever I go, I’ll still have all of this with me. Wherever I end up, I’m never going to forget about these two teams, all of my coaches, all of my teammates, and both of my families. Wherever I go, I’ll still have both of my families.  This year really showed me a different perspective of hockey and I’ve learned so much. Everything that’s happened this season has helped to shape me into the hockey player I am now. I’ll never forget about these organizations for making this season of hockey the best season of my life. 

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