Alex said one of the challenges was learning to balance all the demands of college with hockey, nutrition, and getting enough sleep.
“Last year it was kind of a shock,’’ she said. “We had all this academic [responsibility], all these expectations in the classroom and on the ice but I think this year, we’re more adjusted and more adapted. We had a lot of success last year, it was very exciting. We can always get better. Last year was a good indicator of where we stand in the league. We just need to continue working with that.’’
One of the reasons she has come so far in her development was because she played against girls and boys much of the time through her sophomore year of high school.
“They didn’t really target me at all,’’ she said. “I’m still good friends with all my guy teammates I’ve had over the years. Even people on other teams never came in and tried to hit me or anything like that. I was always probably one of the bigger people out there so maybe that was the reason, but I never had any issues with guys in hockey except for obviously when I got older, they were soon to be bigger than, me so that’s why I left after my sophomore year.’’
Bobby Carpenter, who played 1,178 NHL games, said one of his dreams for Alex is for her to become a successful person and that when hockey ends, she will move on into a different phase of her life.
“[The women’s game has] grown sideways,’’ said Carpenter. “It’s become more popular, but I don’t see too many options for women. Look at the girls who play in the Olympics or who are hoping. They’re hanging around and not even working and just skating. That’s no options for me. I go through this with Alex. I said, ‘Those girls love hockey but there’s a life here.’
“Obviously, she gets a scholarship to Boston College and that’s a huge advantage, but it’s the people she’s going to meet there, the opportunities from the school itself. That’s your future. You use hockey to develop your future. There’s a lot of girls out there, I don’t know if they got the message. It’s kind of a sad in a way that they keep hanging on and I want to make sure Alex understands there is a great benefit to hockey which is the school and the people you meet.’’
For now, though, Alex said she is just going to enjoy college and the sport as long as it lasts.
“I love hockey,’’ she said. “It means the world to me.’’
Nancy Marrapese-Burrell can be reached at email@example.com