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Championship is icing on cake for Towson-area girls on hockey team

Members of the North Eastern championship hockey team celebrate with their trophy.
Members of the North Eastern championship hockey team celebrate with their trophy. (Brian Reider)

Congratulations to North Eastern ice hockey! On March 12, North Eastern captured the 2021 MSHL Girls Championship at The Gardens Ice House in Laurel, with a 2-1 win over Eastern in a sudden death, overtime thriller.

Members of team North Eastern include: Sydney Armstrong, Emmie Caulfield, Claire Cook, Guin Donovan, Addie Erdman, Alejandra Erdman, Payton Greaver, Victoria Hayes, Jade Kendall, Morgan Kovacic, Charlotte Labre, Lindiwe Ledford, Monica Mumma, Ava Pierro, Michelle Radov, Heather Reider, Michelle Reynoso, Olivia Rissling, Rylan Sachs, Eva Schisler and Anna Stamatos. The team is coached by Brian Hayes, Ron Pierro, Brian Reider and Jay Rissling.

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The Maryland Student Hockey League (MSHL) has been around since 1988, with about 75 teams. Girls’ teams started just two years ago.

Prior to 2019, girls could try out for a boys’ team, but since rules allow checking and full body contact during games, there was concern about smaller female players getting injured, and only a handful of more experienced players were given a chance to play.

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Brian Reider stepped up to help bring girls’ ice hockey to the forefront.

“Knowing the interest in girls’ hockey in Maryland has steadily increased due to the USA National Team’s success in the Olympics, myself and Brian Melvin saw a need for all girls, from the most experienced to those with little or no experience, to fulfill their dream of playing on a girls’ high school ice hockey team,” Reider recalled. “In fall 2019, we kicked off our first season of girls’ high school ice hockey in Maryland.”

Finding ice to play on was a challenge, due to limited rinks in the Baltimore area.

“We were fortunate in 2019 that Archbishop Curley High School and head coach Jim Stone partnered with us and allowed the girls’ team to share some of their ice time.”

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Team North Eastern is currently based out of Ice World in Abingdon. Some players on MHSL teams attend Towson High, Park School, Dulaney, Catholic High, Baltimore School for the Arts, and Notre Dame Prep, among others. Team North Eastern’s member roster is largely split between Baltimore and Harford counties.

Reider finds it very rewarding to coach these young athletes.

“Ice hockey brings athletes closer together and bonds them as a team unlike any other sport out there,” he said. “On top of that, our girls are amazing humans, accepting of everyone’s ability, from the best player down to include a player who never played before, making every team member feel welcomed, included and a part of the team.”

Assistant team captain Anna Stamatos said: “I am so grateful that we were able to have a season this year. Even though it was shortened, we had a lot of fun, and winning the championship was a great way to top it off.”

Her father, Nicholas Stamatos, added: “I was so impressed by and grateful to the coaches and organizers who found a way to make this happen. This league has a bright future.”

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