They wear lipstick and nail polish, skate like demons and can hit a slap shot that would make any goalie cringe.
Girls’ hockey isn’t for the timid and that’s the way they like it.
A post-school practice Monday afternoon at Thayer Arena found the Warwick co-op team comprised of girls from Vets, Toll Gate and Pilgrim High Schools running drills and firing shots at nets guarded by goalies Erin Vermilye and Gabriella Dicomitis. Coach Dave Tibbetts had it all under control.
Tibbetts has seen girls’ hockey grow in popularity since the high school league was established 11 years ago. Warwick has fielded a team for 10 of those years. The league has a total of 10 teams in two divisions with players from 20 schools. That puts the total of girl players at more than 200, said Tibbetts.
Just off a 2-1 win over Bay View Academy, the Titans were in high spirits and carrying smiles behind their face guards. But they weren’t talkative. As they gathered at Tibbetts’ command, they were asked what they like about playing hockey.
“I just love it,” volunteered one team member. The others nodded in agreement. Questioned what their families and friends thought of their choice of sport brought more smiles but few words.
“My mom worries,” said goalie Vermilye, who takes a lot of hits. Her chin guard bore signs of deflected pucks.
And have they played on the boys’ teams? More than half the group raised their sticks, but none volunteered more information.
With obvious signs of relief, indicating the questions were over, Tibbetts said it was time to get back to work. The girls didn’t waste a moment. Hunched over, with arms and sticks swinging and legs pumping, they sped to center ice.