Haley Rodham has worked tirelessly both in and out of season in an effort to improve her offensive production with the Hand girls’ ice hockey squad. Haley’s diligence, coupled with her mature leadership, has helped put the Tigers in prime position for a conference title, plus a coveted State Tournament berth.
Haley’s life on the ice began on a different avenue as she was a figure skater before transitioning to hockey in the 6th grade. Now in her final season at Hand, the senior captain forward is second on the team in goals scored with five, while helping the Tigers surpass last year’s win total with their 10-5-2 record.
“Hockey is such a team sport, so I can’t take all the credit for my stats. We all have to work together to get the puck in the net,” says Haley. “For me personally, I’ve been working a lot on my skating and shooting and I feel I’ve come a long way in four years.”
Scoring goals is all about being opportunistic in Haley’s eyes. She loves netting those extra-effort goals when several of her teammates get involved.
“Whenever I score, it’s about being in the right place at the right time and knowing when and where to be,” Haley says. “I like to hang around in the high slot near the top of the circle. My teammates are good at working the puck down low, so it’s a prime place to score from for me.”
Tigers’ Head Coach Tad McGwire says that has Haley has demonstrated countless examples of doing what’s best for her squad as a captain.
“Haley has been an exceptional captain this year, showing leadership in both the classroom and on the ice. On the ice, she has worked relentlessly to improve her game. It’s not often that it is available, but if we get a couple extra minutes of ice time, she is grabbing pucks to improve her shooting. She has a great work ethic, and I can’t remember a practice that she didn’t give everything she had...I remember meeting her for the first time and, even as a freshman, she had a presence that I knew would make her a captain one day,” says McGwire. “Haley is not the best hockey player on our team, but she has earned the respect of her teammates through her hard work and support of the team. She has never been afraid to approach me or one of the other coaches and voice a concern if she thought something was off or just handled wrong. A great example of being a true student athlete who has brought steady leadership to our team, Haley will be sorely missed next year.”
Haley, who was recently accepted into Northwestern University to study biology, says that it’s a “huge honor to be named captain and be a role model for the younger girls,” adding that “it’s been an amazing experience to lead this team.” As a team, the Tigers feature plenty of talent at all ends of the ice, but even though they’ve already won more games than last year, Haley knows that the job is far from finished as Hand wants to make the upcoming postseason one to remember.
“We have a very balanced team this year. We have three solid forward lines with two solid defensive lines. It creates the ability to strengthen our passing game,” says Haley, who thanks her parents, Dee and Ed, her sister and teammate Samantha, along with Hand’s coaching staff. “We’ve struggled with putting the puck in the net, so we are trying new lines together to see what works and, hopefully, we finish strong.”