FALMOUTH — Girls who play ice hockey for Falmouth High School have not had a space to experience the camaraderie and team bonding that comes with having a locker room to call their own.
But that’s about to change with a planned addition at the Family Ice Center on Hat Trick Drive.
The center is home ice for the school’s hockey teams. But when it was built in 1999 it did not include a dedicated locker room for girls, mostly because there was no girls’ hockey team.
Fundraising is underway for the new locker room, which is expected to cost about $250,000, according to Sam Pierce, past president of the Falmouth Ice Hockey Association and current assistant coach of the high school girls’ team.
In making the case for a girls’ locker room, the hockey association said “girls hockey has (now) flourished and, lacking their own space, the girls’ team has been forced to use the public locker room.
“With the growth and success of girls’ hockey in our communities, it is important to do our best to provide all of our Falmouth High School hockey players with the facilities they need to be successful. The girls’ locker room campaign is therefore necessary and urgent.”
Pierce said the goal is for construction of the new locker room to start in late spring, with completion in November.
“The relatively small facility will include a full locker room that will serve as the exclusive home of Falmouth girls’ hockey during their season and which will be available for the use of Family Ice Center the rest of the year,” he said.
The new facility will also include a coach’s office and year-round storage space for all of Falmouth’s public school hockey teams.
Pierce said Falmouth’s ice hockey community and the Family Ice Center board are contributing funds to help build the new locker room, but the two organizations are also hoping for support from community members and local businesses.
While the public locker room at the ice center is “adequate” for the girls’ hockey team, Pierce said “it’s contrasted heavily with the boys’ program, which (has) benefited from an exclusive, community-built locker room (included in) the original construction.”
In support of the new girls’ locker room, the hockey association said, “We have seen firsthand over the years the impact that the boys’ locker room has had on the young men that have been part of the program.
“It is truly their winter home and is a constant and welcoming spot for these athletes, who spend much more than just their ice times there. Having seen the impact of this benefit on Falmouth’s sons, there is no doubt that our daughters deserve the same.
“There should be no debate about the need to provide the girls with the same access as the boys to a private space to dress, gather, learn, celebrate and store their equipment.”
Members of the girls’ hockey team couldn’t agree more and several said this week that they’re excited to finally have a locker room of their own.
Kyla Gallup, a senior captain, said the team has been “waiting for it for as long as I can remember. We are always at the rink (and) it would give us a place of our own – a home away from home.”
She said it would mean “more focus for the team (and) not having to worry about leaving gear at home or having to get it to the rink. We are very thankful to be able to have this opportunity to grow as a team.”
Abi Lebel, the other senior captain, said “it would be absolutely amazing to have our own space that we can call home. … Through having our own space, we can finally have a sense of stability where we can continue to bond as a team for years to come. Speaking to any former hockey player, the one thing they miss the most is the camaraderie that comes with having a locker room.”
Kayla Sarazin, junior captain of the team, said the new locker room would be a place “where we could prepare for games and settle our nerves. Our team has been waiting for this for a long time and I know it means a lot to the girls to have a place where we can feel comfortable before stepping out onto the ice.”
Falmouth High School girls won in overtime on their home ice against the Cheverus co-op team Nov. 30, 2017. Here Eryca Leclerc of Cheverus tries to clear the puck from behind the net as Evie Clement, left, and Reade Carmichael of Falmouth put on the pressure. (PPH)