Teen becomes first female hockey player to play with Sydney Academy Wildcats
For the first time in Sydney Academy’s history, a female hockey player is suiting up and hitting the ice with the Wildcats.
Belle Jacobs says having the opportunity to join the boys’ team is a dream come true.
“I was just looking down at the list and I was like, ‘Belle Jacobs?’ and I was like ‘Yeah!’ I was excited,” recalls the 17-year-old Sydney Academy student.
The school has had a boys’ hockey team for more than 100 years and it’s believed no girl has ever played on the team.
Barry Martin, manager of the Sydney Academy Wildcats, says the team is lucky to have her.
“She was never late. She worked hard. She kept up with the boys, so she was a natural,” says Martin.
Jacobs has played on an all-girls team in previous years. She says it will be a challenge playing with the boys, but it’s one she’s looking forward to.
“It was really nerve-racking in tryouts and stuff like that. You always have to deal with the negative comments, like you’re not good enough, and all that, but hopefully I prove them wrong this year,” says the teen.
While there has been much excitement surrounding Jacobs’ making the team, some concerns have been raised about combining girls and boys. There are also some logistics to work out, which includes ensuring Jacobs has her own dressing room.
“People think it’s going to be a problem, but it’s not,” says Martin. “Things have been worked out between parents and staff, so Belle is not compromised at all by being with the boys or playing with the boys."
Jacobs’ skating ability makes her a perfect fit on the team’s blue line this year and, while she played the last two years without contact, she says she won’t shy away from the physical play.
She’s also thrilled to be breaking the gender barrier and making history at the school.
“Just to be the first girl to ever play in the high school league and for Sydney Academy, it just means a lot,” she says.
The team’s first game is slated for Oct. 23.