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Navy Women’s Hockey Team Serves up While Fun Serving Others

Posted on: March 23, 2014 08:00 EDT by Midshipman 1st Class Colleen Randolph

The Navy Women’s Hockey Team has had its most successful season thus far. With a 9-1 record, the Navy Ladies are seated first in the Delaware Valley Collegiate Hockey Conference heading into their Championship season.

But it’s not just the time on the ice that has led to their success. It is the time spent volunteering and giving back that has had the most impact on team camaraderie.

“Volunteering as a team has brought the Navy ladies a strong sense of camaraderie,” said team captain Midshipman 2nd Class Emily Buzzard, of 18th Company. “By giving our time to build relationships with others, our perspective about stress or challenges is really put in check. It's almost a selfish thing, because we get so much more out of volunteering than what we put in.”

The women’s team’s most recent project is partnering with the UCT Winter Festival Event, sponsored by the American Special Hockey League, which gives players with developmental disabilities an opportunity to play the sport they love. The Navy Women’s Team spent the day cheering, handing out medals, meeting and signing autographs for the team.

Buzzard said they day added fresh perspective for her and her teammates.

“I just love the perspective they bring to ice hockey,” she said. “A lot of athletes tend to get caught up in the competition of their sport, losing sight of love for the game and the importance of being a teammate. The Special Hockey teams value character growth over hockey growth. I wish every team would do that.”

Not only does the team believe that lending a helping hand on the ice will bring them together as a team, but that valuable leadership lessons learned. Buzzard reflected on past experiences working with players with developmental disabilities and believes that they have brought her invaluable leadership experiences.

“At first my expectations of the players were too low. I allowed some of the players to walk all over me,” she said. “I had to reevaluate my coaching tactics and realize that by allowing a skater to have an easy day, I was actually hindering their improvement.”

These lessons, Buzzard believes, translate directly to learning to lead.

“Challenging the people I am leading doesn't necessarily mean that I am attacking them. I owe it to my followers to correct and challenge them when I see a deficiency.”

Buzzard’s favorite part of the experience? Interaction with the patient parents.

“Hockey parents are already a unique breed, but the parents of the Special Hockey players are unbelievably patient and selfless. I really admire them,” she said.

Whether or not the Navy Women’s Hockey team continues their streak, they emerge from the season as winners due to their selflessness. Their time spent with players of the American Special Hockey League will continue to add perspective and service. 

“ I think I learned a lot more from them than they did from me,” said Buzzard. “Although, they did make us feel like we were professional hockey players, which was awesome.” 

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