Published on April 26th, 2016 | by Ivy Sweet0
Women on men’s hockey team are fierce competitors
Tuesday night hockey proves that ladies have just as much game as guys.
Caitlin Convay and Geena Graber are the only women playing on an otherwise all male team in Sioux City’s newest adult hockey league at IBP Ice Center.
“I’ve been around it my whole life,” said Convay, who started playing hockey when she was in second grade and has played in all three of Sioux City’s adult hockey leagues.
Convay prefers playing with men because she does not enjoy the idea of women’s hockey being a no-contact sport.
“Guys have a higher skill level,” Convay said. “I like the pace that they play at.”
Graber, a Des Moines native, is a much newer addition to Tuesday night hockey.
“I’ve only been playing since October,” Graber said. “Wes [Orr], who runs the beginner’s league, was installing cable at my house and saw soccer cleats in my room. He was like, “Do you play?” and that’s how I found out about hockey.”
Both women have had no problem blending in with the boys.
“It’s not too bad,” said Graber, “except they all worry if they hit you. Everyone is really accepting. A lot of the guys have daughters, so they kind of look at us as how they want their daughters to be. Like, “I want my daughter to play hockey like you guys.””
“I like the challenge,” said Convay. “They’re not bad guys to hang out with, either. When I started playing here, I was already friends with a lot of the guys.”
Graber and Convay have been swapped between teams multiple times. Most recently, they played on the team sponsored by C&A Construction – their first time playing on the same team together.
Convay’s position is always the goalie. Her brother was a goalie, too, which inspired her to become one as well when she got back into hockey during her middle school years after a hiatus.
“It came really natural to me,” Convay said. “It’s changed a lot; there’s always a lot of traffic in front of the net. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned how to read the plays better. I’ve learned to keep my eyes on all of the players and not just the puck.”
She has even gotten to hone her skills at the John Elkin’s Goalie School in Toronto.
“I learned a lot of fundamentals there,” Convay said.
Graber usually plays as a forward, but is flexible about her positioning.
“I let the guys choose their positions,” Graber said. “Otherwise they whine about it.”
“The guys have their set positions,” Convay agreed.
Graber enjoys the camaraderie that exists between the players, regardless of their age, gender, or walk of life.
“I think my favorite part of this is the age range,” said Graber. “There are people my age, and then there are people in their forties.”
The girls and the rest of C&A Construction are a force to be reckoned with – Convay and Graber’s team won the hour-long game 8 – 1.
With plans to go to Iowa State in the fall, Convay intends to continue her hockey career. She is open to playing on ISU’s women’s hockey team, but will insist on playing with the men if the women’s team is not up to her speed.
“If they don’t allow it,” Convay said, “I’ll fight it. I don’t feel like women should be kept from playing sports with the guys.”