Hannah Tingley admires the way Kris Letang plays hockey.
The Pittsburgh Penguins star utilizes his skills on both ends of the ice as a defenseman in the NHL, something Tingley strives to do in her game as well. The South Carroll High School senior always had her sights set on playing hockey at the collegiate level for many years, and now she’s getting an opportunity.
Tingley committed to play at Buffalo State College, which is part of the State University of New York system. Tingley said she started emailing coaches in eighth grade and was interested in Buffalo State’s forensic science program, in addition to hockey.
“If you were to start [the process] junior year, you’d never get a commitment because it’s very difficult so you have to start really young,” Tingley said. “It’s hard because you don’t really know what you want to do so you have to grow up a little faster than most people.”
Tingley announced her commitment at the end of her junior year, and made it official last November.
She started playing hockey at 6 or 7 years old and said she would have started at an even younger age, but wanted her father, Steve, to be home so he could teach her. Steve Tingley retired from the Army last November, but was deployed often during Hannah’s childhood, she said.
Hannah Tingley’s older brothers Jake and Luke also play hockey. Jake Tingley played at Penn State Behrend, and Luke plays club at California University of Pennsylvania.
The Tingley children played for the Carroll County Bears, a co-op team in the Maryland Student Hockey League. The program includes players from Carroll’s seven public high schools.
“With the boys, it was a place where I could let go and play and have fun,” Hannah Tingley said. “I didn’t really have to worry about who was watching or wonder if I made a mistake. I just played and I played so much better with the boys because I wasn’t stressed.
“I got to play with Luke for a year, which was a lot of fun because we had never had the opportunity to play together except for that one year.”
Steve Tingley coached the Bears for four years and got to coach Luke and Hannah together. Hannah Tingley said much of her hockey influence comes from her brothers because she loved watching them play and always wanted to be like them.
Hannah Tingley is committed as a defender, but has played both defense and forward. She plays for the Washington Pride U-19 team, a college prep team based in Washington D.C., and said the Pride helped her get the most exposure to college scouts.
Kim Weiss, who coached Tingley with the Pride for five years, is in her eighth season with the program. Weiss served as the club’s on-ice skills coach, U-14 major head coach, and U-14 minor head coach prior to coaching the U-16 team. She played for the Pride and at Trinity College.
“When I first met her at 13 or 14 years old, you could tell she was going to be willing to put in the work,” Weiss said about Tingley. “At that age, you don’t really know how hard it is to be able to play college athletics. Every kid wants to, but that path is a much more difficult reality than people realize. She was always willing to work and got pushed by us as coaches at the level she was playing at.
“She responded really well to that challenge and there was never a doubt that she was going to find a home. It was just about finding the right fit.”
Weiss said Tingley has blossomed as a Pride defender and has continued to improve her game to prepare for the next level. The Bengals went 6-19 this season.
"It’s going to be such a different dynamic,” Tingley said. “Everyone is there wants to be there and the games will be broadcasted and we’re going to go places. Having your own stadium and home I think is really cool, because I’m used to traveling 45 minutes just to get to the rink, but now I’ll be able to walk to it.”