Crash: Slapshot snapshot

Unlike most humans, Sarah Kowalczyk’s (10) feet function better on ice than on grass. Though Sarah learned how to skate at the age of three, she gave it up in favor of soccer. After a few years of soccer, however, she quickly discovered that hockey was where she belonged.

That’s not to say that the sport came completely naturally: “My nickname is Crash because when I first started I wasn’t the best skater,” Sarah said.

Watching her little brother play hockey initially inspired Sarah to try it out. “I just liked how fast paced it was,” she said.

Sarah currently plays right wing, an offensive position. Right wingers are known for impressive stickhandling reminiscent of Patrick Kane’s from the Blackhawks–Sarah’s favorite hockey team.

Sarah plays for Revolution 19U All-Girls through Central Illinois Girls Hockey Association. Her team is composed of girls around the Central Illinois area; only one of her teammates comes from NCHS.

The team practices in Springfield, but ice time is hard to come by. They typically practice two to three times a week. “Everyone wants to practice more, but ice time is so expensive,” Sarah said. “We kind of get the bottom of the barrel.”

Along with weekly practices, Sarah’s team travels around Illinois playing games and tournaments with other teams within the Northern Illinois Hockey League (NIHL).

Though Sarah still has another two years with NIHL, she is already thinking about the next step: college level hockey. After watching a Notre Dame hockey game, she feels confident in her ability to join a club team when she goes to college in a few years.

According to Sarah, “since [the game] is so fast-paced, you have to know what to do at all times.” Unlike the game itself, Sarah still has a couple more years before she has to know what to do next. For now, she is just enjoying the rush.