#BeBoldForChange

When you have passion, heart, desire and the love of a simple game, you think nothing can stand in your way of happiness. As a female athlete, most of us may have heard “you’re too small” or “you’re not as good as the boys” or something along those lines. It was always in comparison to the boys and personally, I have always been sick of hearing it. The USA Women’s Ice hockey team was also sick of hearing that as well.

On March 15th 2017, the USA Women’s Ice Hockey team announced they will not be playing in the IIHF World Championships in Plymouth, Michigan unless significant progress has been made. The World Championships were in less than two weeks but the women believed they had a fight on their hands. The women have asked USA Hockey for equitable support for their program, just as much as they support the men. They are asking for higher wages, travel and insurance provisions equal to the men’s team, but overall fair treatment from USA Hockey. For years, the men’s team has always been provided what they needed to succeed. According to the players, they also receive less support than the men’s team for equipment, staff, associated expenses and marketing. They also pointed to inequities in development programs, asserting that while USA Hockey spends $3.5 million annually on its national team program for boys, girls receive no “comparable” support.

Be Bold For Change

The statement presented by the members of the U.S. Women’s National Hockey team announcing that they will not be playing in the 2017 IIHF World Championships in Plymouth, Michigan.

In the grand scheme of things, the players are just looking for equal support from the USA Hockey program. It has nothing to do with the fact that they do not want to participate in the World Championships; they want to play. Many of the players mentioned that “It’s bigger than hockey. Its about equitable support for females in this country.” First thing is first, equal rights. It goes to show even though women gained equal rights back in the 1920s, we are still fighting for those same rights today. The women see that this has been an overarching issue over the years and they finally stepped up to the plate to challenge USA Hockey. The best part is, they aren’t only doing it for themselves, but for the continued shared goal of promoting and growing girls and women in sport while representing the red, white and blue.

Not only asking for the support of the women’s hockey community, the men’s hockey community and even the NHL backed the women in their fight for equal rights. In having the support of the men’s program and the NHL was huge for the women. It pushed the USA to acknowledge their talent and accomplishments and that they deserve the recognition and support from their own country. Before we knew it, the #BeBoldForChange was blowing up social media in support of the women’s program. In using the hashtag, the word was spread throughout the world gaining continued love and support for the women.

On March 28th 2017, USA Hockey came to an agreement. They listened and agreed to higher wages, travel and insurance provisions like the men’s team, along with prize money for winning. But it is not about the money or the insurance, it is about the bigger picture; the support of the female sport community. Today they won the battle and the every growing support of the USA Hockey federation.

Placing the cherry on top, the women dominated the IIHF World Championships; They defeated Canada with a 3-2 victory in the championship game with a goal by Hilary Knight. They were champions! To make this victory even sweeter, it was the first ever win on home-soil for the American women.

PLYMOUTH, MI - APRIL 07: Kacey Bellamy #22, Meghan Duggan #10 and Monique Lamoureux #7 of the United States react after receiving the championship trophy for beating Canada 3-2 in overtime in the gold medal game at the 2017 IIHF Woman's World Championships at USA Hockey Arena on April 7, 2017 in Plymouth, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

PLYMOUTH, MI – APRIL 07: Kacey Bellamy #22, Meghan Duggan #10 and Monique Lamoureux #7 of the United States react after receiving the championship trophy for beating Canada 3-2 in overtime in the gold medal game at the 2017 IIHF Woman’s World Championships at USA Hockey Arena on April 7, 2017 in Plymouth, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

As a female hockey player, this topic was very near and dear to my heart. It affected me and my hockey career because I have lived through these years of support lacking in the female community. The feeling of being undervalued and the lack of support throughout my career was present, but it never stopped the passion and love I have for the game. Stepping up and fighting for equality in women’s sport is a huge step forward in the world and without the courage, strength, determination of every single women on that roster, things wouldn’t have changed and the future has never looked brighter for women in sport. Thank you!

Freshman to Senior: The Blink of an Eye

Showing up on the SUNY Oswego campus 4 years ago, having traveled over 700 miles away for a great education and the game I loved so much, I never knew what to expect or how fast it was going to come and go.

I remember showing up to freshman orientation and sitting in a circle of strangers as they introduced themselves; name, major, where they were from, in no particular order. As people made their way around the circle, it was finally my turn. I stated “I am Erika Truschke, Marketing major, and I’m from Chicago, Illinois.” I remember people looking up from their blank stare at the grass or off in the distance to make eye contact with me. I received the “Why are you coming out here to go to school?” The answer was simple to me, but confusing for others; I was here to pursue my collegiate hockey career and get a great education as well.

When I arrived on campus, I was overjoyed with excitement as I moved into my dorm and my stall where I was able to call home for the next four years. In a welcome meeting, Coach Dillon had addressed the team. “Your four years here will go by in a blink of an eye, so enjoy it.” Well that sure did happen. Many people can be invested in something that consumes their life in one way or another, and that is what hockey did for me.

As time flew by here at Oswego, I made countless memories, life-long friends, endured hardships and happiness; needless to say, all of the above where made both on and off the ice. Whether it was in the dorm rooms, in the locker room, or on the road, my teammates where the ones that made this time at Oswego so memorable. Nothing will ever be able to replace what Oswego has given me.

Fast forward to Senior Year…

Freshman Eryn Stewart giving Senior Erika Truschke a hug after suffering season-ending loss to Utica.

Freshman Eryn Stewart giving Senior Erika Truschke a hug after suffering season-ending loss to Utica.

As the team traveled to Utica Thursday February 23, it felt like a routine trip. I sat in the same seat in the very back of the bus, counted off by numbers, departed from the Campus Center Arena to Utica we went. Trying to focus on the game and the task at hand, nerves set in the body for sure. Doing the best to keep my routine, I prepared mentally for the game. Our usual game of ‘attempting to keep up the soccer ball’ was extra intense, but kept the mood light. Everything seemed normal…

It wasn’t until the final annoyingly loud Utica horn sounded and the scream of the fans erupted the Aud that I knew it was all over. Nothing in this world could prepare me for the rush of emotion, sadness, and that dreaded final buzzer. I sat on the bench in shock, feet feeling like they were cemented into the ground as I did not want to leave the ice surface. I knew once I had skated off the ice for the last time, not only my collegiate hockey career, but my competitive hockey career was coming to a close. Once I made it onto the ice my freshman teammate and stallmate Eryn Stewart found me and gave me a pat on the head and a hug and told me I had an amazing game and that she loved me. Tears ripped down my face, I tried to crack a smile; my eyes locked on the exit door to the ice surface, I slowly made my way.

Sitting in the lockerroom after the loss, more of my teammates consoled me while I tried to pay attention to Coach Dillon’s speech. During that time, it gave me a chance to reflect on the last 4 seasons that I pulled that Laker jersey over my head and represented such a promising program. Our senior class started out with a few more faces, and over the years we gained some and lost more. Alas, the last seven seniors standing have accomplished so much for this program and has without a doubt left a legacy. We have made it to the playoffs every single year, helped Coach Dillon reach 100 wins for the Laker program, taken points (for this first time in Laker history) from rivals Plattsburgh and Elmira along with a first program W against Plattsburgh in Plattsburgh, and most of us reached the milestone of 100+ career collegiate games (Kendall Applebaum, Alexa Aramburu, Alyssa Brockmann, Erika Truschke, and Allison Ullrich). Although we never got our hopeful 20+ win season, or an ECAC West Title, even a trip to the NCAA tournament, it is nothing to be ashamed of. With what we have accomplished as a group, there is no doubt in my mind that we, the senior class, have left a great legacy.

Assistant Women's Ice Hockey Coach Greg Haney takes a selfie with the 7 seniors.

Assistant Women’s Ice Hockey Coach Greg Haney takes a selfie with the 7 seniors.

In the end, I couldn’t be more proud to have been an Oswego State Laker and to continue my collegiate hockey career with some of my best friends. It is crazy to realize that my 16-year relationship with competitive hockey has come to a close, but it will always be a part of me. The game of hockey has molded me into the person that I am today and although it is over, I will be able to look back and be thankful for the memories, laughs, tears, broken bones, sore muscles, early morning practices, and trophies; but I will always be especially thankful for my parents for giving me the opportunity to pursue my dreams.

~Thank you hockey~

Hockey 101: Laker Edition

Growing up in a hockey family, the rules of the game became second nature to me; for others, hockey may be a foreign language. Here at Oswego State, hockey is a big aspect of campus life. Every GameDay calls for a packed house full of screaming fans on the edge of their seats. Whether it’s a rowdy “Go Home Plattsburgh” chant, or booing at the referees for a bad call, the fans are engaged throughout the game.

For some, hockey may be a confusing sport to understand. There are whistles to stop the play, colored lines on the ice that represent something, players smashing other players into the boards, and many other confusing events. Perhaps people who do not understand the rules and plays of hockey need to be taught a thing or two before attending a game; that is where I come in.

This simple “Hockey 101” video helps fans understand the rules, do’s/don’ts on the ice, and how to be a good spectator. After watching this video, you can be prepared to attend the famous Hockey Night in Oswego and cheer on your Lakers to victory!

 

As an enthusiastic Laker Hockey fan, always remember, “Be Loud, Be Proud, and Be Positive.”

Special thanks to my teammates Brianna Colucci, Kate Randazzo, Lauren Martel, Eryn Stewart and Amber Samonek for being a part of the filming process.

Why I am 700 Miles Away

Icy cold winds and snow piles over five feet high was my first encounter at SUNY Oswego. Most would agree those are not appealing features to attract someone to a college, but it grabbed me and pulled me in tight. As I toured Oswego for the first time in brisk conditions just three years ago, I fell in love with how beautiful campus looked, even covered in snow. Over-looking the vast Lake Ontario hugging the shores of campus, the sunsets leave picture perfect moments. And when the long winter season comes to a close and the temperatures start to rise, the Flat Rocks, Bev’s Ice Cream, and Rudy’s Fish Fry becomes the popular hangout stops on campus.

IMG_2107

[Picture of the Lake Ontario Sunset]

As an aspiring student-athlete, Oswego was a dream come true. With a wide variety of academic and athletic opportunities, it wasn’t hard to find my place on campus. Being a hockey player, the newly renovated Marano Campus Center was a huge selling feature for me as an athlete. Oswego gave me the chance to play at a top-notch facility, at my highest potential. As for any other student on campus, it provides an entertaining and intense atmosphere where they can cheer on their favorite Laker Hockey Teams. Next to hockey, other sports have received new facilities such as the Turf Field which is home to soccer, lacrosse, and field hockey games. With a lot of opportunities for athletes and students, these facilities help bring Oswego students closer together.

campus center
[Picture of the Marano Campus Center]

Leaving for your freshman year of college is an exciting and terrifying time. Saying goodbyes to your family and friends, is always tough. But, if you go to SUNY Oswego, you most likely reside somewhere in the state of New York like Buffalo or “on” Long Island (as I’ve learned); therefore, the ease of traveling home for a quick weekend is in the cards. As for me, I leave my family, friends, and boyfriend 700 miles away in a small southwest suburb of Chicago, Illinois. Most people here have asked me why I chose to go to school so far away. The answer is simple: SUNY Oswego gave me the opportunity and the privilege to receive a fulfilling education alongside the honor of wearing a Laker hockey jersey every weekend to represent, not only my team, but the Oswego State Lakers with pride. Yes, at times it can be tough being so far from home; I only get to travel home for Christmas and Spring break; phone calls, text messaging, and Facetime have become a familiar use of communication. Although, having my Laker Hockey family here is a close second. The friendships and relationships I have made over the years, has left me with lifelong connections that I will cherish. Looking back at it all, I wouldn’t want to spend my last 3 years anywhere else. Oswego has become my second home, and it will always share a special place in my heart.

My name is Erika Truschke, and this is why I am 700 miles away from home.