Inspiring Performances from ME Girls Ice Hockey Players in 2023


 The Marblehead girls ice hockey co-op team has struggled this winter – the Magicians only have three wins with about a quarter of the season left to play – and yet this is one of the most inspiring high school teams on the North Shore.

This is a young team with players hailing from all over the map – the Magicians are a co-op that pulls in athletes from Manchester Essex, Hamilton-Wenham and Swampscott high schools – and it’s an overall young group still going through some growing pains.  But watch a game or two and it’s easy to see that potential is there for the future of the program.

“Our record does not reflect how the team has played, especially as of recently,” says Marblehead girls ice hockey coach Brittany Smith.  “We had many new players join the team this year.  We have a young team overall as well.  It took some time at the beginning of the year for all the girls to understand the systems.  The growth of the team since the beginning of the year has been remarkable.  Most of our games are one- or two-goal differences.”

Last year’s team went 8-12, but only nine returned from that squad.  That means the remaining 15 members of the roster are new to the team, and many of them are new to the sport at this level.

“The returners range in age from freshmen to seniors and most of our new girls this year are younger, so we definitely have a young team,” says Smith.  “We have four seniors on the team, one of which is brand new to the sport of hockey.  We have five other girls on the team that also have never played organized hockey.  We have a very wide range of skill and age.  Our youngest on the team is in seventh grade.”

Manchester Essex is well-represented on that roster, including Teyah Fleming, Lily Francouer and Charlette and Mel Earl.

“Teyah Fleming [is] an amazing ninth-grader hockey player,” explains Smith.  “She brings speed, size, strength, and hockey knowledge to the team.  She is one of our most well-rounded players on the ice.  Her love for hockey shows every time she steps on the ice.”

Fleming has a pair of goals and assists each so far this season and has been a revelation.  Also, of note have been the contributions from the Earl sisters, including ME freshman Charlotte and seventh-grader Mel.

“Their passion for the game is also unbelievable,” says Smith.  “If we have extra ice time before or after practice, they stay out to get extra shots, skating, feedback.  Both are first-year players and are amazing additions to the team.

The coach adds: “Mel is tiny and feisty; she is never afraid to throw her body around and go in for a puck battle.  Char is meticulous and thoughtful.  I was afraid with having sisters on the team that they might fight or argue all the time, but with these two it has been seamless.”

Francoeur has unfortunately not had the opportunity to get into the action this winter after a strong year in goal last year due to an injury derailing the majority of her season.

“She had an amazing season last year and was one of the top goaltenders in the league,” says Smith.

The four Manchester Essex student-athletes help to create a never-say-die group mindset that has served the Magicians well this season.

The team is feisty and never gives up,” explains Smith.  “I think at the beginning of the season, the team would get discouraged easily if they were down by a goal or two, but now this team doesn't stop fighting until the very last second regardless of the score.  Our team also has strong defensive zone coverage.  We are also starting to get much more creative in the offensive zone which has led to more offensive opportunities.”

This group is inspiring not just with its efforts on the ice but in the community as well.

“We hosted a mental health game again this year in honor of a former teammate and player of mine, Rachel Mckay,” says Smith.  “We played Newburyport.  Not only did we raise over $10,000 for the American Foundation on Suicide Prevention, but we also beat Newburyport 3-0.  They are a pretty solid team, and we were the underdogs going into that game.”

Marblehead is looking for a few more inspiring performances of this ilk during the last leg of the season.  The team was slated to face Medford on February 6, Winthrop two days later and Shawsheen on February 10.

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