South Carroll freshman Hannah Tingley scored the first goal for the Carroll County Bears, against Walkersville at Skate Frederick, on Friday.
South Carroll freshman Hannah Tingley scored the first goal for the Carroll County Bears, against Walkersville at Skate Frederick, on Friday. (Bill Ryan / Carroll County Times)

There's a sign hanging in Steve Tingley's house that reads "Family interrupted for hockey."

It fits their situation perfectly.

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Tingley has been helping coach the Carroll County Bears co-ed hockey team for six years, and he's been head coach for the last two years. His wife, Mary, is a certified Level 3 official for USA Hockey. His three kids, Jake, Luke and Hannah, each play and are also certified by USA Hockey to referee games.

Luke and Hannah Tingley each agreed that being coached by their dad is quite enjoyable.

"Really?" Steve said.

"We get yelled at, but it's fun," Hannah added with a laugh.

The oldest Tingley sibling, Jake, played for the Bears and currently studies plastics engineering technology at Penn State Behrend. He plays for the Behrend Lions club hockey team that competes at the Division III level in the American Collegiate Hockey Association.

The Tingleys moved to Mount Airy when Jake was a freshman and he attended South Carroll — his ninth school — and graduated in 2015. Luke and Hannah attend South Carroll, but their father's active military career prevented them from living in one state for too long when they were younger.

Carroll County Bears ice hockey coach Steve Tingley with his children, South Carroll senior Luke Tingley and freshman Hannah Tingley, after a game at Skate Frederick on Friday.
Carroll County Bears ice hockey coach Steve Tingley with his children, South Carroll senior Luke Tingley and freshman Hannah Tingley, after a game at Skate Frederick on Friday. (Bill Ryan / Carroll County Times)

Steve Tingley, who served 27 years in the Army, has made five deployments overseas and his most recent tour was last year. He deployed around Thanksgiving 2015 and returned home to his family in early December 2016.

"It changed things a little bit," Luke Tingley said. "It made me focus on hockey a little more knowing he wasn't able to be there and it made me want to push harder so that when he does come back, he can see how much we've improved."

"Our coaches helped," Hannah added. "They took the place of him where he wasn't and it was definitely a lot harder with him not being there. I wouldn't really know how well I was doing if I wasn't given the best feedback from him."

Steve Tingley's goal following his family's move to Mount Airy was for his kids to graduate from the same high school. He commuted long distances to work and deployed in order for his family to remain in the area. This is their sixth year in Carroll County, and Tingley said it's the longest they've lived in one place.

Staying involved with hockey in Maryland has helped the Tingleys keep ties to their original roots. Steve and Mary Tingley both hail from the outskirts of Pittsburgh — Jake attends college in Erie, and Luke plans to continue his studies at California University of Pennsylvania this fall.

They are also avid Pittsburgh Penguins fans, or, as Steve Tingley put it, cheering for any team that plays the Capitals — with the exception of the Philadelphia Flyers.

Like his older brother, Luke Tingley is set to play hockey in college as well. He said Jake wants him to attend Penn State Behrend, but Luke's mind is set. Tingley and his father took in a Vulcans hockey game on Jan. 21 against, as luck would have it, the Behrend Lions.

"They're arch-rivals," Steve Tingley said. "Behrend had never beaten them, but the games have always been close. It was a lopsided 7-2 loss for Behrend and Luke says in the car, 'Well, Jake you kind of make my decision easier.'"

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South Carroll senior Luke Tingley, playing for the Carroll Bears, against Walkersville at Skate Frederick, on Friday.
South Carroll senior Luke Tingley, playing for the Carroll Bears, against Walkersville at Skate Frederick, on Friday. (Bill Ryan / Carroll County Times)

The Tingley children were each coached by their father on different teams growing up. Jake and Luke played together when they lived in New York, and Hannah started soon after.

"When we lived in New York, I wanted to start playing but my dad wasn't there at the time," Hannah said. "My mom didn't want me to start because she wanted him to be there so when he came back, I started playing. I had skated before but joined a mites team and really liked it.

"When we were stationed in Aberdeen, I played for the North Stars for a year then took a year off for gymnastics. I missed hockey, but it made me more balanced when I did both."

The Tingleys aren't the only hockey family involved with the Bears. Coaches John Weetman and Paul Finch have kids that play as well.

Finch used to coach Luke and his son Conor has played hockey with Luke since the boys were young. Weetman's son, Matt, also played with Luke prior to the Bears. Hannah and Shannon Finch, Conor's sister, are not only Bears teammates, but they also play for the Washington Pride U-16 team.

"I like playing with the boys and it's not that they're intimidating, they have more skill than girls have so it's fun to play with someone who isn't afraid to pass you the puck," Hannah said. "When I play with the boys, I have more confidence because I know they're not going to back away from the play and the puck and will actually let me do something."

Steve said there's an unwritten rule among co-ed teams that if a player from an opposing team hits a girl on the ice, it's expected that boys on her team will make it known that player made a serious mistake.

The Bears are 6-4-1 with losses at the hands of the first- and second-place teams in the Monocacy Valley Division (Oakdale and Frederick), according to the Maryland Student Hockey League standings. Steve said the MSHL has gotten better every year and coaching his kids has made it even more worthwhile.

"You're right there for the moment," Steve said. "You don't have to watch it from the stands, you can experience it right there from the bench. Tell them they're doing a great job and just be a part of the little things during the game."

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