July 21, 2024
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Frisch Girls Ice Hockey Plays First-Ever Game

(Frisch Sports) The Frisch girls ice hockey program took to the ice for its first-ever game on Thursday December 9. The team lost a close game 4-2 to Summit High School, but quickly rebounded with a win in its second game 5-0 on Sunday December 12, against the Morristown Beard School junior varsity.

Even more impressive is that 20 girls grades nine through 12 contributed to both games, marking a successful beginning to official play for the Frisch girls ice hockey team.

The girls have shown a strong commitment to the ice hockey program. The program began in 2018 as a pet project for Yaffa Lofstock, who was already playing hockey at the time. Yaffa said, “I was hoping to get five girls interested in joining girls ice hockey. To see 20 girls on the ice for our second game was amazing and we all deserved the win. It’s not easy work and we should be proud of ourselves, but that being said, this is only the beginning.”

Almost immediately there was an energy and anticipation for the program. At the first team meeting in November 2018 more than 30 girls attended to express interest in the girls ice hockey program. Since the program’s first practice three years ago approximately 35 different girls have taken the ice for practice. A dozen more have expressed an interest in playing for the team.

Senior Sara Mermel said, “The Frisch girls ice hockey team is a family. During our practices, the team trains hard and has fun. The games showed our team’s bond and hard work. I am really proud of our team and the progress we have made. I am looking forward to our next game!”

The player growth and development has been steady, and the girls have learned to play as a team. In their two games this year, the squad has eight goals from six different goal scorers. The girls next play on December 26, against Clarkstown South High School.

Coach Ralph Abecassis praised the girls for their dedication and commitment to the program. “There were definitely some nervous faces, but once they hit the ice, that changed immediately, and they started to play hard and have fun—lots of it. The experience gave these girls an incredible sense of accomplishment, especially after having to wait for so long due to Covid. This will definitely be one of my most memorable games, by far.”

Senior Alexa Leffel added, “There were lots of nerves before the game, but also lots of excited chatter. We were determined to win Sunday. After a quick dry-land warm up, we hopped on the ice and the game began. Many proud family members and friends watched the game and cheered us on from the stands. We had great teamwork and communication and pulled through with a win. All smiles after the game, we can’t wait to get back on the ice!”

Senior Abigail Tyler echoed, “After the game, I had a post-win high that kept a smile on my face. I hugged all my teammates, even the ones I barely knew, and we really felt like a team.”

Debbie Tyler, Abigail’s mother, shared “When I watched them step onto the ice for the first time I was so proud of these remarkable young Jewish women who are making a positive impact, not in spite of who they are, but because of it, and whether they win or lose, they are shattering the glass ceiling with their ice skates.”

Women’s ice hockey at all levels is one of the fastest growing sports in the country. Girls’ hockey, and organized sports overall, in addition to laying the foundation for good health and physical fitness, is effective in building girls’ confidence and self-esteem. Hockey takes that a step further with travel and time spent in the locker room where a sense of camaraderie is developed.

“Following our first game, one of the referees skated over to me and said, ‘What we saw out there tonight is what hockey is all about.’ That pretty much sums up the experience. I am so proud of these girls,” Abecassis said.

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